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(Late Director of Intelligence, Sudan Governvient and Egyptian Army, and Sudan Agent, Cairo.) 


Volume I. 

{With eighty-two illustrations.) 





And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from 
WYMAN AND SONS, Ltd., Fetter Lane, E.G.; or 

OLIVER & BOYD, Edinbdkgh; or ' 

E. PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin. 

Price Ten Shillings. 

(Wt. 8207 1500 9 I 05— H & S 3874) 


Thk following pages contain a comprehensive description of tlic Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in 1905. This includes 
revision and amplification of the " Handhook of the Sudan " (1898) and of the " Supplement to the Handhook of the 
Sudan " (1899), hesides a great deal of additional information as to the resources, development, administration, 
commerce, etc., of the country, shewing its progress since 1899. It may, however, be well understood that the 
description of many parts of the country is still far from complete. 

The chapters have been compiled by various officers in the Sudan Administration ; but the main work of 
editing and revision has fallen on Lieut.-Colonel Count Gleichen (the Editor), who, from the somewhat indiscriminate 
mass of reports, documents and books at his disposal, has evolved a compendium which cannot fail to be of great 
use and value to the officers and officials of the Sudan Government. I even venture to hope that such of the 
general public as may be interested in this vast country, its history, and its future, will find in the following pages 
a useful work of reference until a more complete and comprehensive work is forthcoming. 

[The loss to the Sudan Government of the services of Count Gleichen, who, since he undertook this work, has 
been transferred to the Military Attacheship at Berlin, is much to be regretted, and that he should have been able 
to continue the compilation in his new position speaks volumes for his industry and capacity.] 

The Editor's thanks are particularly due to Sir William Garstin, G.C.M.G., and Captain Lyons (Director of 
Egyptian Government Surveys) for a mass of valuable information about the White Nile, and to Captain 
H. H. S. Morant (Assistant Director of Intelligence), for assistance rendered in compiling and editing. 

The work has been divided into three Parts (Geographical and Descriptive, Historical, and lloutes) ; the last 
Part, for convenience of practical reference, being bound separately (by chapters) as the second volume. 

[For practical purposes of travel, sport, etc., the books noted on p. 213 will lie found indispensable.] 


Sirdar and Governor-General of the Sudan. 

KhaHoum, 9(h Janvary, 1905. 

Editorial Note. — The indvlgence of readers is requested in the matter ofj.otsihle small errors in cross references. Index, etc., for, 
during the progress of the work through the press in London, the majoi-ity of the compilers and proof-correctors have been in the Sudan 
and the Editor in Oermany. — G, 

Berlin, 23rrf March, 1905. 

A 2 



Uth^ at the Inulh Div, War OfTice. Oct, 1903 

Diagram of Chapters 

IN Vol. I, Parti, & IN VOL.H. 




{The Editor.) 

Boundaries ; Population ; Towns ; Administratiou 


Revenue and Expenditure. {Bernard) 

Communications ... 

Resources and (,'omnierce 

Justice. {lioitham-Carter) 

Religion ... 

Education ; Climate 

Game ; Slavery ; Forests. {Browij 












{The Editor.) 

(i) Introductory — General— Flood — Historical 

(ii; General Description (down stream) ; Albert Nyanza to Mediterranean 
(iii) River Discharges ... 

(iv) Navigability: Boats and Steamers ; Landing Places 

(v) Climate : Winds ; Temperature ... 
(vi Detailed Description (up stream) ; 

Section (1).— Haifa to Mero we 

'2). — Merowe to Khartoum 

Description of Khartoum and Omdurmun... 
(3). — Khartoum to Lake No 
(4). — Lake No to Goudokoro. {(Jarstln and Lyons) 



vi TaUe of Contents. 


(.Vorant.) paok 

(Conntrv l>.>iiDile<I on the north bv the Sudan-Egyptian frontier, on the west by the Nile 
froin that frontier to the niouth of the Atbar^, on the south by the Atbara and 
AlivKKininn anil Eritrean frontiei-s, and on the east by the Red Sea.) 
S*rtion"l.- Country between Haifa and the Atlwi-a niouth, along the Nile banks. {Jackson, 

Haifet-Sadler. vU-.) 83 

2.— C\>nntry'l)etween Haifa, Berber, Suakin, and the intersection of the 22nd iiaiallol 
with the Re<l Sea : — 

(a) Hetwcen the Railway and the Nile. {Talbot) 85 

(/>) East of the Railway" (or "tlie Atbai"). {Talbot, Dramly, Lonpjield) 86 

(f) The Hisharin. {Bmmly) 91 

(rf) Tlie .\liabda. {JfopthiKon and linimly) 5)3 

„ 3. — Suakin and District (rhyfdir, Kerr, etc.) 94 

„ 4.— I'ountry Ix-tween the Berber-S\iakin road, the Atbara, and the Abyssinian and 
Eritrenn frontiers : — 

(fj) Country between the Berber-Suakin road and latitude of K.nssala, 

{I'arler) 96 

(b) Kassala 97 

(c) The Khor Gash 99 

(rf) t'ounti-y south of Kassala to the Setit ... ... ... ... ... 99 

(«) „ „ the Setit ."lO 

(/) Tlie Atbara and Tributaries 100 



(Country lictween the Nile and Abys-sinia, bounde<l by the Atbara and the Hluo Nile.) 
Section 1. —Conntrv Itetween the Atbai-a and the Niles, from El Danier .soutliwanls to tlio 

-Abu Hhiiiz Sofi line 103 

„ 2.— Geilaii-f and District 106 

„ 3.— Gallalsit and District 107 

n 4. — Country l>etween Blue Nile, Dinder, and Rahad, with description of these liyers 109 

Table of distances on the Blue Nile 115 

CHAlTElt V. 


(Country Wtwcen the White Nile and Abyssinia, bounded by the Blue Nile and Sobat.) 

Sei'linn 1.— The Gezira (Khartoum to the Seiinar-Goz Abu Gutna line) 117 

2.- Country south of Sennar-Goz Abu Gunia line : — 

(a) General Description ... 119 

(6) Dar Fung (including Burun and Keili). {Gim/nn and Gorringe) 122 

(e) Fazogli. {Smyth) 123 

f<^ Tlic Dinka« oi'i White Nile. {Wihmi) 126 

(«) Selini Baggaiu 130 

(The Sobat and tributaries, and country south of the Sobat and north of N. lat. 5° 
Iwtween the Abyssinian frontier and the Balir El Jebel, including 
description of the Bahr El Zeraf, R. Ateni, etc.) 

Section 1. — Sobat and tributaries 131 

„ 2.- The country soutli of the Sobat and north of N. lat. 5°, between IJahr El Jebel 
and Abyssinian frontier: — 

(«) General desiription 141 

(6^ Bahr El Zeraf. {WiUon) ■'. 142 

(c) R. Awai or Atein. {IMdell) 144 

^o) B<^ir and south. {Turtli(j bmA Dorton) 144 

(e) The Beri tril)e. (liorton) 147 

(/) Country south of the Akobo. {Austin) 148 

^,, ... (9) Tlie Upper Pibor. {Comt/n) 151 

Table of dutaave* on the Sobat 162 

Table of Contents. 




(Thk Bahr El Ghazal.) 

1. Introductory 

2. General Description 

3. Rivers and Water Supply 

4. Administration 

5. Resources. {/Joulnois and Broun) 

6. Clim.ate and Hygiene. (Ilaymes) 

7. Forestry. {Broun)... 

8. Communications and Transport ... 

9. Tribes 

10. Game ... 

11. Religious Beliefs. {Cummins) 

12. Dinka and Bongo Vocabulary. {Cum.mins and Tiirstig) 

13. Itinerary of Bahr el Ghazal River : — Lake No to Meshra el Rek, 

{Oarstin, Paake, Editor, etc.) 





{The Editor.) 


Section 1. — Kordofan. {Lloi/d) : — 

1. General Description ... 

2. Inhabitants ... ... 

3. Towns 

4. Animals ... 

5. Climate and Health. {Stallard) 

„ 2. — Darfur. {Morant) 

„ 3. — The Shilluks and their Country. {Editor, etc.) 

Appendix : History and Religion of Shilluks. {Banlwlzer, Oiffen, etc.) 





(Country west of the Nile, south of latitude 22° and north of Kordofan. ) 

Section 1. — Desert west of the Nile and north and west of Wadi El Gab. {Hodgson, Currie, 
etc.) ... ... ... 

„ 2. — Wadi El Gab. {Turner, Colvile, Hunter, Oarstin) ... 

„ 3. —" Bay uda Desert." {Fowler, eta.) 

Report on El Ein. {Carey) ... 




{The Editor.) 

Section 1. — Railways. {Macaule/i) ... 

„ 2. — River Communications. {Bond) 

„ 3. — Roads ... 

„ 4. — Riding and Transport Animals ... 
„ 5. -Posts and Telegraphs. {Liddell) 





Jaile of Contents. 


(T/ie Editor*) 



From the earliest times to the Arab Invasion (a. D. 640) 221 

From the Arab Invasion to the time of Mohammed Ali 227 

From Mohammed Ali's conquest (1819) to the end of 1882 2.31 

Events on the Nile from 1882 to May, 1898 247 


The remainder of the Sudan from 1882 to May, 1898 :— 

(a) Darfur, Kordofan and Uar Fertit 255 

(6) The EasUin Sudan 257 

(c) Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria 259 


From May, 1898, to the final destruction of the Dervish power (end of 1899) 265 

From 1900 onwards 273 

GoTemora-General of the Sudan 280 

♦ Exc-ept ])art of Cliapter II and most of Chapter III (talsen from "Report on Egyptian 
Provinces of Sudan," I.D.W.O., 1884). 






1. Sudan Agreement, 19.1.9!) (Great Britain and Egypt) 283 

2. Siuikin Annex to above, 10.7.99 (Great Britain and Egypt) 285 

3. Declaration ?•« Spheres of Influence, 21.3.99 (Great Britain and France) ... ... ... 285 

4. Au'reement re Balir El Ghazal, 12.5.94 (Great Britain and Congo Free State) 286 

4a. Withdrawal of clause of above, 22.6.94 „ „ „ 288 

5. Agreement re Tribes between Khor Baraka and Red Sea {Kitchener — Baratieri), 25.6.95/7.7 

(Egypt and Eritrea) 288 

6. Agreement re Fiontier between Red Sea and Khor Baraka {Parsons — Martini), 7.12.98 

(Egyi)t and Eritrea) 289 

7. Delimitation of Frontier between Khor Baraka and Sabderat ( Walter — Bongiovanni), 

1.6.99 (Sudan and Eritrea) 289 

8. Description of Frontier between Sabderat and TodUik (Talbot — Colli), 16.4.01 (Sudan and 

Eritrea) 290 

9. Description of Frontier between Abu Gamal and Setit ( Talbot — Mortinelli), 18.2.03 (Sudan 

and Eritrea) 290 

10. Declaration re Sudan — Eritrean — Abyssinian Frontier, Rome, 22.11.01 (Sudan and Eritrea) 291 

11. Grazing Agreement ((W^i'»MO« — J/«rtmj), 28.2 01 (Sudan and Eritrea) ... 291 

12. Customs Convention, Rome, 26.11.01 (Sudan and Eritrea). {Martini — Gleichen) 292 

13. Postal „ „ „ ., „ „ „ 294 

14. Telegraph „ „ „ „ „ „ „ 294 

15. Treaty >'e Frontier, etc., 15.5.02 ( Britain and Abyssinia) ... ... ... ... 295 

16. „ „ „ (Great Britain, Eritrea, and Abyssinia) ... 296 

17. Duties on Uganda goods, 21.4.02 (Sudan and Uganda) ... ... ... 297 


18. Agreement re Bahr El Ghazal, etc., 14.8.94 (France ai\d Congo Free State) 297 

19. „ Frontier, 10.7.00 (Eritrea and Abyssinia) 298 

20.*Berlin Act, 26.2.85 : Free Trade in Congo Basin, etc — 

21.*BrusseIs Act, 2.7.90 (in force since 2.4.94): Slave Trade, Firearms, Ammunition, etc. 

Amongst others, Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Abyssinia are 

Signatories ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ■•. ... — 

B.— THE SUDD. {Garstin, Bro^in, tha Editor, etc.) 29S 

C— ZOOLOGY OF THE SUDAN. {Butler) 307 

D.— ANTIQUITIES OF THE SUDAN. {Croicfoot a.nd Editor) 311 

E.— ETHNOLOGY OF THE SUDAN. (Crowfoot) 317 

F.— LIST OF TRIBES AND SHEIKHS. (Slatin, Morant, etc.) 322 



INDEX 351 

General Map of Sudan (1 : 4,000,000) atend. 


(Bound as Vol. 2.) 


(Arranged in Chapters corresponding to Chapters III to IX (inclusive) of Part I., besides an 
Appendix, describing routes partly outside the Sudan. For detail, see " Contents ' in Vol. 2.) 

* Not printed here, but text may be found in Hertslet's " Map of Africa by Treaty," 1896 Edition, pp. 20 
to 47, and pp. 48 to IOC respectively. 





The Sovereifjiis of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (frontispiece) ... ... ... ... to face 1 

Khartoum Palace, from tlie river. (D. J.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 

Maiket scene, Gezira. (D. J.) ... ... ... .,. ... ... ... 8 

Tlie Earl of Cromer and Sir W. Garstin ... ... ... ... ... ... ... to face 15 

The Eastern Nile bank, south of Haifa. (K ) 22 

Jaalin Shepherd scene ; corn-grinding stones, Omdurman. (T.) ... ... . . ... 46 

The Governor-General and Sirdar ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48 

Khartoum, looking north from tlie War Office roof over Tuti Island. (K.) ... ... ... 51 

„ Palace, and garden, from the soutli-west. (K.) ,.. ... ... ... ... 51 

Jebelein (G.) ; Wooding station near Goz Abu Gunia ; Jebel Ahmed Agha. (G.) ... ... 61 

Akunere, Shilluk village (T.) ; Shilluk maiden with household utensils. (T.)... ... ... 65 

Kodok : Boman Catholic Mission Station, liul. (T.) ... ... ... ... ' 69 

Taufikia. (G.) 71 

Lake No ; Shambe ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 72 

Kiro. (P.);Lado. (P.) 78 

Gondokoro ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 81 

Mongalla. (G.) 82 

On the Blue Nile. (T.) 110 

Forest scenery, west bank. Upper Blue Nile. (D.J.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 112 

On the Blue is' ile. (D.J.) 112 

Scenes in the Southern Gezira. (D.J.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 116 

In the Dar el Fung ; village scene, Burun country. (D.J.) ... ... ... ... ... 121 

IngAssana villnge ; hill scenery, Dar el Fung (D. .J.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 124 

Dinka : man and girl. (T.) 127 

American Protestant Mission, Sobat. (M.)... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 13.3 

The Bahr el Zeraf. (G.) 141 

Anuak women at Itang. (M.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... LW 

Woman of Dar Fertit. (T.) 164 

Bahr el Ghazal. (G.) ; River Rohl. (G.) 171 

Kordofan Arabs with Chief. (S. D.) 174 

Taaislia (Baggara) girl. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 178 

Nuba woman, daughter, and baby. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 180 

Darfurgirl. (T.) 186 

Old woman, Darfur. (T.) 187 

The Darfur Mahmal passing through Omdurman ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 188 

Shilluk. (T.) 192 

„ warriors. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 195 

Mek Kur wad Nedok. (T.) ; ShUluks on a visit. (T.) 198 

Shilluk village .scene. (T.) 200 

Dongolawi merchant. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 203 

Bayuda De-sert Arabs. (S. D.) 207 

Colossal ram of Anienhotep I II., Jebel Barkai. (W.) ... ... ... 223 

Ethiopian King f I oni Meroe. (W.) 224 

One of the animals af Nagaa. (W.) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 226 

Stone lamb from Solw. (W.) 228 

Sudanese women. (T.)... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 233 

maiden. (T.) 241 

Sir K. von Slatin Paslia 245 

General Gordon to face 247 

F.-M. Viscount Wolseley 249 

Types of Sudanese soldiers. — The raw material. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 250 

„ „ „ — The finished article. (T.) ... ... ... ... ... ... 251 

Khalifa's house, Omdurman. (S. D.)... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 252 

Captured Dervish Emirs. (J. K. W.) 254 

Old woman of Dar Nuba. (T.) 264 

General Viscount Kitchener ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... to face 265 

The Mahdi'a tomb, 3rd September, 1898. (S. D.) 266 

The hue Emir Ahmed Fedil. (J. K. W.) 2J7 

After ITm Debreikat ; body of the Khalifa in foreground. (J. K. W.) ... ... 269 

The end of the Mahdist dorainion. (J. K. W.) 272 

Sons of the Mahdi and Khalifa ... ... ... ... 275 

B 2 



Loril Ritchener at the Grordon College, Khartouiu. (K.) 


Aoibftch ... 

Pwvma. (CJ.) 

Buaenicepa Rox at Khartoum. (W.) 

Nagaa : Egypto-Roman buildings in the desert-. (L.) 



Tlie alx>ve are fiimi phi>t<>j{ni|)li8 by tlie following gentlemen, to all of whom, especially to the 
three first iiam»l, the wnim th:inks of the Editor are due for the kind perniis.sion granted to hira to 
use the photographs, and in many cases the blocks themselves. Those not initialled above are 
acknowledged on the illustrations themselves. 

T. Mr. R. Tiirstig, Oradurmaii. 

G. Sir \Vm. Gai-stin. 

D. J. Mr. Digbv Jones. 

K. Mr. Halli"l Kemei.l, Editor " Standard Guide to Egypt and Sudan." 

L. f^ptaiu Longfield, Egyptian Army. 

M. ('a|>tain H. H. S. Morant, Egyptian Army. 

P. Alajor Pliipps, Egyptian -Army. 

8. I). Lt.-('ol. Stanton, Egvi)tian Army, per Mr. Dennis, Sairborough. 

W. Mr. John Waixl, F.S.A., Belfast. 

K. W. Lt.-Col. Watson, Egyptian Army. 

Thoec entirely unacknowledge<l are by the Editor and his sister. 


ABBREVIATIONS (v. Appendix H.). 

H. S. C. 
O. G. H. 

N. O. 

H. S. 

History of Suilan Carupaigii. (Colvile.) 

The Nile aljove tlie 2ncl Cataract. (O'Grady Haly.) 

Report on the Nile and Country between Dongola, 

Siiakin, Ka.'sala anrl Onidurman (Gleichen). 
Handbook of the Sudan (Gleichen). 

S. H. S. 

Supplement to Handbook of the Sudan. 





N.B. — According to the latest system of transliteration, many words formerly spelt with a "k"(Kftf Jj) are now spelt with 
a " g>" «-5'-! Wadi el (Jab, Yagub, etc. The word for hill is always spelt Jebel, whether pronounced hard or soft. 


E.A. = Egyptian Army ; S.G. = Sudan Government. 

Mr. C. H. Armbruster, Deputy Inspector, Kasaala. 

Attia Effendi, Intelligence Department. 

Maj. Austin, C.M.G., D.S.O. 

Bev. Father Banholzer, R.C. Mission, Lul. 

Dr. A. Balfour, Sanitary Adviser to S.G. 

Lt.-Col. E. E. Bernard, Financial Secretary S.G. 

Lieut. Bond, R.N., Direelov of Steamers and Boats. 

Capt. N. Borton, Inspector, Mongalla. 

Maj. W. Boidnois, Governor Bahr el Ghazal Province. 

Mr. A. Jennings-Bramly, Deputy Inspector S.G. 

Mr. A. F. Broun, Director of Woods and Forests. 

Mr. Bulpett. 

Mr. A. L. Butler, Superintendent Game Preservation Depart- 

Mr. G. R. Carey, Mining Engineer. 

Mr. C. E. Bonham-Cai'ter, Legal Secretary S.G. 

The Earl of Cromer, G.tJ.B., etc., etc. 

Mr. J. W. Crowfoot, Sudan Education Department. 

Col. H. E. Colvile. 

Lieut. D. Comyn, Inspector, Upper Nile Province 

Capt. S. L. Cummins, R.A.M.C., E.A. 

Mr. .J. Currie, Director of Education. 

Capt. W. Doran, late E.A. 

Capt. Dugmore. 

Sir J. Fowler, C.E. 

Sir W. Garstiu, G.C.M.G., Lender Secretary of State for Public 
Works (Egypt). 

Rev. .1. K. Gifien, American Protestant Mission, Sobat. 

Lt.-Col. Count Gleichen, C.V.O., C.M.G., D.S.O., Editor. 

Lt.-f-'ol. G. F. Gorringe, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E., Governor Sennar 

Maj. C. W. Gwynn, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E., Sudan Surveys. 

Rev. LI. Gwynne, Chaplain, Kliartoum. 

The late Capt. Haymes, R.A.M.C. 

(!ol. St. G. C. Henry, C.B., A.G., late Governor of Kassala. 

Maj. Sir H. B. Hill, Bt., Governor of Berber. 

<;apt. H. G. Hodgson, Insj)ector, Dongola. 

Maj. H. C. B. Hopkinson, Commandant Alexandria Police, 
late E.A. 

Col. A. Hunter, late E.A. 

(Jol. H. W. Jackson, C.B., Governor of Dongola. 

Mr. B. H. .Jessen. 

Capt. Julien, French Army. 

Mr. Kerr, Deputy Inspector, S.G., Suakin. 

(Commander Colin Keppel, R.N. 

Capt. C. H. Leve.son, Inspector, Kordofan. 

Capt. J. S. Liddell, Director Posts and Telegraphs. 

Capt. H. D. W. Lloyd, Inspector, Nahud. 

Capt. W. E. Longfield, S.G. Railways. 

Capt. H. G. Lyons, late R.E., Director Egyptian Government 

Maj. G. B. Macauley, Director Sudan Railways. 
Maj. G. E. Matthews, Governor of Upper Nile Province. 
Maj. W. S. R. May, A.F.S., S.G. 
Capt. H. H. S. Morant, Assistant Director of Intelligence, 

Naum Bey Shoucair, Sudan Agent's Office. 
Mr. Oscar Neumann, Berlin. 

Maj. M. Peake, C.M.G., Director of Artillery, E.A. 
Cajtt. A. C Parker, Deputy Assistant Secretary, S.G. 
Capt. N. Playfair, late Acting Governor, Suakin. 
C!ommander R. Pooi-e, R.N. 

Capt. W. Hayes-Sadler, Governor, Haifa Province. 
Capt. R. V. Savile, Inspector, Kassida. 
Maj. Slade, R.A. 

Sir Rudolf von Slatin Pasha, K.C.M.G., Inspector General, S.G. 
Maj. N. M. Smyth, V.C, late E.A. 

Col. W. S Sparkes, C. M.G., late Governor Bahr el Ghazal. 
Mr. Spires, Collector, Gondokoro. 
Capt. H. G. F. Stallard, R.A.M.C. 
Maj. E. A. Stanton, Governor of Khartoum. 
Col. Hon. M. G. Talbot, Director of Surveys, Sudan. 
Lt.-Col. A. E. Turner, late R.A. 
Mr. R. TUtstig, Photographer, Omdurman. 
Ml-. J. Ward, F.S.A. 

Maj. E. B. Wilkinson, Governor of Kassala. 
Capt. H. H. Wilson, Inspector, Sobat. 

Maj.-Gen. Sir F. R. Wiugate, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., Sirdar 
and Governor-Genei'al, Sudan. 

* Including those whose works or reports have been utilised. 


Part I. 



The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan comprises that country which is bounded on the north by the 22nd parallel of north Bomidaiies. 
latitude ; on the east by the Red Sea, Eritrea, and Abyssinia ; on the west and south-wf st by a line running through 
the Libyan Desert (defined by the Anglo-French Agresnaent of March, 1899), by the Sultanate of Wadai, and by the line 
of rising ground forming the watershed between the Congo and Shari on one side, and the Nile on the other ; and on 
the south by the Lado Enclave* and east of the Nile, the 5th parallel of north latitude. 

The greatest length from north to south is about 1,2.50 miles, and from east to west about 1,080 miles. {Vide 
Appendix A for text of Frontier treaties. 

The estimated area of the territory IS about 1,006,000 square miles, and the population about 2,000,000 For 
distribution of population rif/c Appendix F., p. .322. 

The capital and seat of Government of the country is Khartoum, situated at the junction of the White and Blue Capital and 
Niles (lat. 1-5° 36', long. 32° 32'), and distant, as the crow flies, about 1,2.50 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. (For 
description see Chap. II, p. 49.) 

The other chief towns of the country are Khartoum North (formerly termed Halfaya) and Omdurman (close to 
Khartoum), Haifa, Merowe, Berber, Wad Medani, Kassala, Suakin, Dueim, and El Obeid. (Detailed descriptions will 
be found in the various chapters dealing with them.) 

Area and 


The Sudan is administered by a Governor-General (who is at present also Sirdar of Ihe Egyptian Army) and 
imder him by Mudirs (governors of provinces), assisted by inspectors and deputy inspectorsf (British : m'litary and 
civilian), and by Mamurs (Egyptian or Native officers). 

* Temporarily occupied by the Congo Free State. 

+ Full particulars of (.'onditions of Seivice, etc., of Government Civil Officials in the Sudan may be obtained from the Secretary 
to Selection Board, Finance Ministry, (/'airo. 


The text of the agreement of 1899, ou which the administration is based, provides for the administration of the 
territory south of the 22nd parallel of latitude by a Governor-General, appointed by Egypt witli the assent of Great 
Britain, and declares the general principles in accordance with which the administration shall be carried on. The 
British and Egyptian flags shall be used together ; laws shall be made by proclamation ; no duties shall be levied 
on imports from Egypt, and duties on imports from other countries shall not exceed those levied in Egypt ; the import 
and export of slaves is prohibited, and special attention shall be paid to the Brussels Act of 1890 respecting the import 
and export of arms, ammunition, and spirits. 

The ■' Capitulations " are not in force in the Sudan, nor are there any foreign Consuls. 

The SudaJt is di\aded into eight first class and four second class Provinces, as follows : — 


Chief Town. 


Chief Town. 

First CtAss, 

B»hr EUJIiAzal 







Kl l)amer 




Kl l)l>ei.l 

First Class — continved. 


Upper Nile 

Second Class. 



Gezira (Blue Nile) 

White Nile 


Wad Medaui 

Each Province is divided into a varying number of Districts, each of which is under an Egyptian or native Mamur, 
•8 follows : — 





Fiwt Class — continued. 

FiMT Claas. 

(■ J>eim Zubeir 



\ Wau 
I Kumbek 

Abu Naama 



Dinder (Abu Hashim) 

' Roliatab 


Berber Town 

. Dar Fung (Soda) 




1 El Dainer 

f Renk 

L Shendi 

1 Koduk 

Vpper Nile 

■{ Tauiikia 




1^ Mongalla 




Second Class. 

f Abu Deleig 

1 Kanilin 


f Kassala 

Gezira (Blue Nile) 

J Rufaa 

] Mesellemia 

L OallalKit 

Wad Medani 
I, Managil 

f Kh.-irtoiim 


< Onidurnian 

r Haifa 

I Wad Kanda 


L Sukkot (Kosha) 

r ElObeid 


Khiirai (Dm Dam) 


r Snakin 
"L Tc.kar 

KonJfifan ... 



r Geteina 



White Nile 

J DueiiM 
1 K awa 

. Nuba Mountains (Talodi) 

L Gedid 

Administration ; Arwy. 

The cliief Government officials, besides the Governor-General, are the Secretary-General, the Director of Intelligence 
and Agent-General (Cairo), the Inspector-General, the Legal Secretary, Financial Secretary, Director of Surveys, Director 
of Works, Director of Education, Director-General of Irrigation,* Princ'pal Medical Officer, Director of Woods and 
Forests, Director of Agriculture and Lands, Director of Railways, Director of Steamers and Boats, Director of 
Telegraphs and Posts, Director of Customs, Principal Veterinary Officer, Director of Slavery Repression Depart- 
ment*, and Superintendent of Game Preservation Department. 

The duties of these officials sufficiently explain themselves by their titles. 

The following are the names, at present (1904), of the chief officials : — 

Legal Secretary 
Agent-General, Cairo 
Financial Secretary 

Major-General Sir F. Reginald Wingate, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O. 
Colonel F. J. Nason, D.S.O. 

El Lewa Sir Rudolf von Slatin Pasha, K.C.M.G., C.V.O., C.B. 
E. Bonham-Carter, Esq. 
Lieut.-Colonel Lord E. Cecil, D.S.O. 
E. E. Bernard. 

All the above (with the exception of the Legal Secretary, the Directors of Education, Woods and Forests, 
Superintendent of Game Preservation, and Director of Agriculture and Lands, who are civilians) are at present 
Britishf officers attached to the Egyptian Army. 

In addition to one British battalion, at present furnished by the British Army of Occupation in Egypt and The Army, 
quartered at Khartoum, nearly the whole of the Egyptian Army may be said to be in the Sudan. The normal garrisons 
of the Sudan are as follows : — 
















Troops, if 



276 men, Gehadia. 






























I Railway Bat 







1 Battalion Arab 
Camel Corps. 

Khartoum ... 





1 (Max.) 



Hd. - Qrs. A.G.'s 
Dept. and Works 



4 (!onip.%nies Camel 
Corps (3 Arab, 
1 Sudanese). 



















Upper Nile 

















As a rule, the Governor of the Province, being the senior British officer, is in MiUtary command of the troops 
in his Province. 

* This Department is under the Egyptian Government. 

t Except the Inspector-General. 

X Detachments of Medical Coi'ps, Supply, Transport, Stores, Works, and Veterinary Departments are at all stations where 


4 Revenue and Et'penditure ; Sources of Revenue. 

The following gives a table of revenue and expenditure since 1899 : — 




































1 £E. = 100 piastres = £1 0». (id. 

The deficit is made up by the Egyptian Government, which now contributes annually to the cost of Civil and Military 
Administration in the Sudan the nominal sum of about £E.380,000. The actual sum contributed is, however, not really 
8o large as this, for about £E.60,000 is paid in Customs dues in Egypt on goods going to the Sudan, which sum is 
abs<irbed by the Egyptian Government ; and the Sudan Government pays the Egyptian Government an annual 
amount of between £E. 122,000 and £E. 282,000 (£E. 186,757 in 1905) for the maintenance of that portion of the army 
which is in the Sudan. 

Some changes were introduced into the system of accounts in 1903 which caused a considerable increase in the 
figures on both sides of the Budget of that year as compared with those for previous years, but this increase was 
apparent only and did not affect the amount of the contribution by the Egyptian Government towards the Civil 
and Military expenditure of the Sudan Government. 

Besides the above budgetary expenditure, additional credits to the extent of £E. 1,060,114 have been authorised 
since 1899, principally for completing and improving the railway between Haifa and Khartoum, for telegraph extensions, 
public works and for other purposes. Moreover, the entire cost of the railway now in course of construction between 
Suakin on the Red Sea and the Nile at a point near the Atbara River in the Berber Province, and expenditure 
connected with the new harbour works at Sheikh Barghout to the North of Suakin, will be borne by the Egyptian 


The revenue is derived at present from the following taxes, etc., which are imposed according to the circumstances 
of the Province : — 

Land Tax. 
Date Tax. 
Animal Tax. 
Road Tax. 
House Tax. 
Boat Tax. 
Tribute from Tribes. 



Sales (of Government properties, etc.). 

Woods and Forests. 

Miscellaneous, including rents, ferries, licences, 
stamped paper, market and court fees, slaughter- 
ing dues, etc., etc. 

Land Tax. — A proportion of this tax is derived in certa'n Provinces from the " Ushur," or tenth part, tax. 
This is assessed on the value of the products of the land, and is paid sometimes in kind, but generally in cash. 

The land tax is assessed on the extent and value of the irrigated land, and varies from 10 piastres to 60 piastres 
a feddan (acre). Rain lands pay less than irrigated lands, whilst those only recently coming under cultivation pay 
less than those already long cultivated, etc., etc. 

The Date Tax is levied on date palms, at the rate of 2 piastres per tree, whether male or female. 

Animal Tax is levied on camels, mules, sheep, horses, etc., etc., at the following rates :— 

Camel ... 


Mule or donkey 






Head of Cattle 



♦ Estimate only. 

Revenue and Expenditure ; Special Services. 

The Road Tax is a light tax levied in certain places with the object of keeping the roads open and safe, and the 
wells dug and in good order. 

The Boat Tax amounts to 2 piastres per ardeb capacity. 

The House Tax amounts to one-twelfth of the annual rental value of the building. 

The Tribute from Tribes is levied on those nomad tribes who own no lands or are not agriculturists. It is 
assessed by the Governor broadly on the value of their possessions in herds and other property. 

Gum, ivory, ostrich feathers and india-rubber* are the articles at present which pay a Royalty of 20 per cent. 
ad valorem to Government. The Royalty on ivory has been recently reduced to 15 per cent, as a temporary and 
tentative measure. 

Sales and Miscellaneous explain themselves. 

The following are the special services and estimated receipts and expenditure for 1904-5 :— 





/. — Luans not yet wholly expended. 

Loan for the development of the Sudan Railway 

Loan for the purchase of iron bases for Telegraph poles 

Loan for improving the Sudan Railway and purchasins: 

Rolling Stock 

Advance for special survey, Suakin-Berber projected 


Advance for the construction of rhe Suakin Port 

Advance for the construction of Light-houses at Suakin 
Advance for the excavation of a cutting and for improving 

and digging wells on the Suakin-Atbara line 















14 000 

//. — Credits not yet vholly expended. 

Credit from Wakfs Administration for building mosques ... 
Credits from the Egptian Government : — 

1. Relief of poor Refugees 

2. Extension of Telegraph line to the Bahr-el Ghazal 


3. Partial cost of a steamer for development of trade 

on the U jper Nile (total being £E. 4,000) 
Ciedits sanctioned against the surpluses of the years 1902 
and 1903 





HI. — Services outside the Budget. 
Gordon Memorial College 



3 590 


Graxd Total 



* Trade in india-rubber is at present prohibited (December, 1904). 

G 2 

Revemie and Expemliture. 



00 O 
1-1 1- 

■N o I- 1- I- I- ic as >f^ o; ■* 

.^•sen-r .- — ^ — c-i-i^as 

Is^ X n ts : »-t ^:^_^ o ^^ ^^ 

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S X ^ 


Communications ; Resources and Commerce. 7 


{See Chapter X for details.) 

Communication in the Sudan is maintained by : — (I) Railways ; (II) River ; (III) Roads. 

(I) The Railway. — The Sudan Government Railway, a single line completed on the last day of 1899, runs from 
Haifa, crossing the Nubian desert, to Abu Hamed along the Nile bank to Khartoum North on the right bank of 
the Blue Nile opposite Khartoum (575 miles). 

Another branch, also single, 203 miles, runs from Haifa to Kerma (35 miles north of Dongola) following 
the Nile. This is to be abandoned after the 31st December, 1904. 

A line of railway joining Suakin on the Red Sea to the Nile near the mouth of the Atbara is now under 
construction ; it will be of the greatest benefit to the trade and development of the Sudan. Other railway projects 
at present under consideration are : — Abu Hamed to Merowe, Thamiam (near Suakin) to Kassala, and Omdurman 
to El Obeid. 

The distance between Haifa and Aswan forms the only break in the railway communication between 
Khartoum and the Mediterranean Sea ; a service of Sudan steamers plies on this reach. 

(II) River. — North of Khartoum the river is navigable throughout except at the five cataracts ; at certain times 
of the year most of these are navigable, with difficulty. South of Khartoum communication is maintained along the 
White and Blue Niles and their affluents. During low Nile — January to June — the Blue Nile is not navigable. The 
White Nile is navigable up to Gondokoro in Uganda, though there are some difficulties in the way of navigation 
{vide p. 73). The Sobat and Baro are not navigable from January to beginning of May. 

(Ill) Roads. — Roads are, and must be for some time to come, the principal means of communication in the Sudan. 
Transport is chiefly performed by camels, mules and donkeys. The greater part of the Sudan, being level, lends itself 
without much difficulty to the making of roads suitable for carriages, though draught transport has not been in use 
hitherto to any extent. Bullock wagons are in use in the Bahr El Ghazal. 

Some automobile carriages are now being tried in the different parts of the Sudan, and have so far given fairly 
good results. 


The chief natural resources of the Sudan at present lie in the forests of Kordofan and the Blue Nile, which produce 
gum (Hashab and Talh), ebony, furniture woods and fibre ; and in those of the Bahr El Ghazal, which produce 
india-rubber, gutta-percha, etc. ; also in the products of animals, such as ivory, ostrich feathers, rhinoceros horns, 
skins, etc. 

There are large quantities of fine cattle in the country, especially on the Upper White Nile, but export of these 
is for the present forbidden. 

As regards agricultural products, only the country lying close to the Nile and its tributaries is, as a rule, cultivated, 
and the people do not, so far, grow more than is necessary for their own use. The principal crops are dura (a kind 
of millet), beans, lentils, dukhn, sesame, onions, melons, and a little wheat and barley. In the Gezira, however, between 
the White and Blue Niles, and in the Gedaref district, large tracts are cultivated. 

The Dongola Province is rich in date palms, and exports large quantities of dates. 

There is a large opening for the growth and export of cotton. Little is grown at present, but the soil is favourable 
and the quahty is good. Inducements, therefore, in the way of seed and promises to purchase what is grown, are 
being offered to the natives to cultivate this invaluable plant, and it is expected that the opening of the Nile- 
Red Sea Railway will considerably increase its production. 

Sugar could also be grown : there was formerly a sugar factory at Kamlin. 

The fertihty of the land in the Sudan varies enormously, from the sterile desert wastes of Northern Kordofan ^j^uA and 
and the Eastern Sudan to the rich soil bordering the river banks. There are also large tracts of fertile soil round settlement. 
Gedaref, Kassala and Tokar, where rich crops are grown with little effort. 

Inducements are, according to circumstances, held out by the Government to would-be settlers in the shape of 
free or easy grants of lands, remission of taxes for a time, low rates of transport, etc., and purchasers and cultivators 
are slowly trickling in. The settlement, especially in view of the dearth of native population and labour, must neces- 
sarily be a slow one. As larger tracts are brought into cultivation, as canals are dug, and as irrigation and communi- 
cations are improved, so will the export of cereals and produce of all sorts increase. The Nile-Red Sea Railway is 
expected to give Sudan trade a great impetus, and the population is rapidly increasing. But although those best 
qualified to judge are convinced of a great economic future before the country, it can hardly be expected that the 
Sudan will pay its own way for some years to come. 

Customs Duties ; Justice. 


The following is a list of the chief articles of produce of the Sudan, with the districts where such are mostly found : — 

Cotton . . . . . . . . Throughout the Sudan in small quantities, but increasing in Dongola, Berber, 

and Gezira Provinces. 
Kordofan and Eastern Desert. 
Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Gedaref District. 
Bahr El Ghazal, Kordofan, and Upper Nile Provinces. 
Bahr El Ghazal and Kordofan. 

Chiefly up the White and Blue Niles and in the Bahr El Ghazal. 
Chiefly Dongola, Tokar, Gedaref, the Gezira, Sennar, and Upper Nile Provinces. 
Small quantities in Berber. Increasing. 
Dongola. Best quality at Sukkot. 
Indications in Northern Sudan and Upper Blue Nile. 
Hofrat Nahas-Bahr EI Ghazal. 
Bahr El Ghazal and Kordofan. 

Kordofan, Upper Blue Nile and Abyssinian border, Eastern and Northern 
Mother of Pearl . . . . . . Suakin. 

The native industries are, so far, limited in number. Cultivation is the usual occupation of the people. Cotton- 
cloth weaving, boat-building on the Niles, camel breeding in the northern and western deserts, and iron-smelting 
in the Bahr El Ghazal practically exhaust the list. Agricultural and industrial shows at the chief towns have, 
however, been started, and receive considerable support. Minor industries, such as pottery, leather work, improved 
carjientry, etc., are quickly coming to the fore. 







Grain and Cereals 






Other Minerals 


For the purpose of Customs duties, the Sudan is, in the main, considered as forming a part of Egypt. The 
Government has, however, concluded a Customs Convention with Eritrea,* and applies practically the same 
principles to the co-terminous countries of Uganda, the Congo Free State, the French Congo and Abyssinia. 

Broadly, goods exported to these countries from the Sudan pay 1 per cent, ad valorem, and imports from those 
countries 5 to 8 per cent. ; whilst goods in transit thence receive a drawback equal in amount to the duty paid on 
entering the country, i.e., they can pass free of duty through the Sudan.* 


The main lines of judicial organisation in the Sudan date from 1899, at which time the whole country was 
under Egyptian Martial Law. 

Under the code of Criminal Procedure of that year the criminal courts are directly under the Governor -General, 
who, however, has the benefit of the advice of a Legal Secretary. Under " Tlie Civil Justice Ordinance, 1900," the 
civil courts are subordinated to the Legal Secretary, in his capacity as Acting Judicial Commissioner. 

Criminal justice in each province is administered by the Mudir's Court (composed of the Mudir or Governor, 
or his representative, and two other magistrates), which has general competence ; minor District Courts of three 
officers, with limited competence ; and magistrates with powers similar to, but more limited than, those of Indian 
Magistrates. These magistrates are the members of the Provincial Administrative Staff, who are either picked officers 
of the army or civilian inspectors, who, unless they have had a legal training, are required to pass an examination 
in the Codes. 

The procedure at the inquiry, and as to arrest, etc., is borrowed from the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure ; 
that at the hearing is that of an Egyptian (or substantially, of a British) court-martial, with which the military officers 
are familiar. 

Sentences passed by the Mudir's Court are submitted to the Governor-General for confirmation. Those of the 
subordinate courts are either submitted to the Mudir for confirmation, or are open to appeal before him. 

The Governor-General has, in all cases, revising powers similar to those of an Indian High Court. 

The substantive criminal law is contained in the Sudan Penal Code, which is a copy of the Indian Penal Code, 
with such modifications as the circumstances of the country appeared to demand. 

* See Appendix A. 

10 Legidtttion ; Religion. 

Tlie civil courts in each province are those of the Mudir and of the subordinate magistrates. The procedure is 
borrowed in part from that in Indian provinces which do not possess a High Court, and in part from the Ottoman 
and African Orders in Council. 

The parties appear before tlie judge, who settles the issues to be tried before trying the case. Every court has 
power to sit with assessors, who, in commercial cases, are frecjuently of considerable assistance. Appeals lie to the 
Mudir, or from the court of the Mudir to that of the Judicial Commissioner. 

This system has been somewhat modified by the appointment of four civil judges who are trained lawyers. 
Wlierever there is a civil judge, he has all the powers, civil and criminal, of the Mudir, and ordinarily takes all the 
ci\nl and the more responsible criminal work of that officer. A civil judge has now sat continuously for the last 
three years at Khartoum, where all the principal merchants reside. A system of circuits will probably be shortly 
instituted in the outlying provinces ; in the meantime provision is made for civil disputes of special importance or 
complexity in those provinces by a section which authorises their transfer, by consent of the parties, to the court 
of the Judicial Commissioner. It is very possible that the latter court may shortly be replaced by a bench of 
civil judges. 

It was not thought advisable to create a body of substantive civil law at a time when all that was known of 
the customs of the people was that they probably differed from those of any country whose legislation could have 
been taken as a precedent. Section 3 of the Civil Justice Ordinance provides for the recognition of customary law, 
so far as applicable and not repugnant to good conscience, in matters of succession, etc. ; and Section 4 provides for 
the administration of "justice, equity, and good conscience," a phrase which has stereotyped custom in large parts 
of the east, and filled up the interstices with the principles of English Law. 

In commercial matters in the Sudan the judges have inclined to interpret it as implying the obligation to 
recognise the principles of Egyptian Commercial Law in cases in which the law of civilised countries is not in 

The above-mentioned Codes are applied wherever they may be put in force by the Governor-General, and they 
have been gradually extended to all parts of the Sudan, except the Bahr El Ghazal. In the more backward provinces 
in the south, where officers are scattered, advantage has to be taken of a provision that they shall be applied with 
such modifications, not affecting the substance, as the circumstances may require.* 
Hehkema There are special courts, Mehkema Sharia, for the trial in accordance with Mohammedan Law, of cases between 

Mohammedans, involving questions of personal status, such as succession, wills, gifts, marriage, divorce, family 
relations, and also the constitution of charitable endowments (wakf). 

The judges of these courts are Mohammedan Sheikhs, either natives of the Sudan or Egyptians ; of whom the 
latter have obtained their training in the Azhar Mosque at Cairo. 

The Mehkema Sharia comprise District Courts, which have jurisdiction over one or more Districts, according to 
the extent and population of the Districts, Province Courts, which act as courts of appeal from the District Courts 
and have also an original jurisdiction over the district in which they are situated, and a Supreme Court of Appeal 
situated at Khartoum, consisting of the Grand Kadi of the Sudan, who acts as President, the Mufti, and two judges 
of appeal. 

Though the majority of the inhabitants of the Sudan are followers of the Maliki School of Mohammedan Law, 
the courts generally, as in Egypt, adopt the jurisprudence of the Hanafi School. 


Legislation takes the form of Ordinances, issued by proclamation of the Governor-General. In accordance with 
Article IV of the Agreement of the 19th January, 1899, between the British and Egyptian Government as to the 
administration of the Sudan, all such ordinances must be forthwith notified to the British Agent-General in Cairo 
and the President of the Council of Ministers of His Highness the Khedive. All Ordinances are pubUshed in the 
' Sudan Gazette." 


Except for the negroid tribes the religion of the native population is that of Islam. The black tribes in their 
'wn country are all heathen; outside it a good many of their members have embraced Islam. 

* The above observations on .Justice are extracted from Lord Cromer's Eeport, Egypt No. 1 (1U04), ]). 88. 


Education; Cliviate. ll 

The Arab population is inclined to be fanatical ; and to enable tlie Government to keep itself informed of the 
religious feelings of the people, a consiiltory board of Ulema (learned men) has been estab ished at Omdurman. 

There are two Christian missionary stations amongst the black tribes : one {American Protestant) on the Sobat 
River, and the other (Austrian Roman Catholic) near Kodok. The latter mission is now establishing another branch 
in the Bahr El Ghazal. 

There are also several missionary schools at Khartoum and Omdurman. A British Protestant Church is about 
to be built at Khartoum, and there are Roman Catholic, Greek, and Coptic churches in course of construction. 


In the Sudan a higher primary school system is gradually being developed. There are four of these schools (Khar- 
toum, Omdurman, Haifa, and Suakin), besides a few Kuttab or village schools, where instruction is given in reading, 
writing, and arithmetic. Every day shows a greater necessity for a Sudanese class able to read, write, and cipher 
sufficiently to fill the minor appointments under Government. This class is gradually being constructed, but it takes 
time, especially as competent teachers are scarce. 

All school subjects are taught in Arabic, not English. The latter language is not encouraged, but it can be taught, 
as a foreign language. 

The Gordon College, with an endowment of over £E. 100,000, was finished and opened in October, 1903. 

At present it contains a Higher Primary School, attended by 1-50 boys, and a Training College for Schoolmasters 
and Kadis. Competent Sudanese teachers of the vernacular are now the chief requirement, but this want will be 
remedied as time goes on. 

A separate wing of the building affords room for an institute for bacteriological work,* and research into the 
products and diseases of the country. 

Another invaluable adjunct to the College is found in some technical workshops generously and completely 
fitted up by a private benefactor.| 


The cUmate of the Sudan naturally varies over such a huge territory. Roughly speaking, it may be said that 
from the latitude of about Shendi northwards the climate is dry throughout the year. South of this, the rains in 
the summer, increasing in intensity towards the south, towards the sea, and towards the Abyssinian hills, cause a damp 
climate for two or three months, the remaining months being quite dry. 

Between Haifa and Dongola there are a few rainy days in the winter, and, very exceptionally, some torrential 
rains in the summer. At Suakin heavy rains occur at intervals from August to January, with occasional rainfalls 
during the spring. The Khor Baraka flood maybe expected at Tokar about the 15th August, and the Gash flood at 
Kassala during the first week of July. 

The rainy season proper, on the Upper Blue Nile, Atbara, and in Abyssinia commences about the middle or end of 
May, the rains lasting till the middle of September ; light rains in January and February ; heavy rains sometimes in 
October and November. 

The rainy season at Khartoum and in the " Bayuda desert " lasts nominally from the middle of June to the end of 
September, but during this period rain rarely falls on more than 15 days. In the Bahr El Ghazal the rains last from 
April till October, and in Southern Kordofan and Darfur from June to October. 

Heavy rains occur in addition in the valley of the Upper White Nile from September to November ; also numerous 
thunderstorms, especially in the hilly region round Rejaf and the Sudd district to the north of it. 

On the Sobat, rains last from May to end of October. 

The more imhealthy parts, in each case only during the period immediately succeeding the rains or the Nile flood, 
are, in the order of the evil, the Bahr El Ghazal, the Upper White Nile, the Upper Blue Nile, Kordofan, Kassala, and 
Suakin. During the rest of the year the climate is dry and healthy throughout. The temperature is, in the summer, 
undoubtedly hot, the thermometer having on rare occasions risen to as much as 126° ; but on the other hand, except 
in the rainy season, the nights are always cool and refreshing. 

During the rest of the year, the temperature naturally varies considerably ; but it may be said that the winter 
is bright and invigorating throughout, and not too hot. There are even unpleasantly cold winds at times. 

♦ The Laboratory is the generous gift of Mr. Wellcome. t Sir W. Mather, M.P. 


Game ; Slavei-y ; Poreda. 

Except during the rainy season, the prevailing winds are, in the valley of the Nile, always from a northerly direction. 
In other parts, the wind varies according to season, but all get their share of the north wind. 


1902 and 1903. 










Highest. Lowest. 



















January ... 

. 97-7 








61 -2 







. 105-8 



71 -6 



59 •() 








Maivli '... 

. 107-6 



81 -5 




55 -4 







April ... 

. 110-3 






65 -3 

61 -7 








. 113-9 















. 113-0 


99 -5 




72 -5 



91 -4 





July ... 

.1 106-7 





81 -5 









August ... 

. 108-5 





83 -3 










. 108-5 















. 106-7 






61 -7 









. 104-9 














Decern lier 

. 91-4 







49 1 









The efforts of the Government are directed towards preserving the numerous species of game of all sorts which 
abound in the Sudan, and to preventing them being exploited wholesale for commercial purposes. 

Thus the Government, in the matter of ivory and feathers, has laid down stringent regulations which control the 
killing of elephants and ostriches. By imposing heavy duties and strictly limiting the numbers it is keeping within 
reasonable limits the export of live animals for menageries, etc., in Europe ; and traffic in skins, trophies, etc., of wild 
animals is strictly prohibited. 

As regards the shooting of game for sport, a sanctuary and game reserve have been instituted, and the licence with 
which a sportsman has to provide himself is expensive and only covers the shooting of a limited number of each 
species, some species being tabooed altogether. (For full details of the Game Laws, vide Ordinance for Preservation 
of Wild Animals, etc., 1903, and for practical hints, etc., re shooting, see books mentioned on p. 213.) 


Slave-runnirig is practically dead, save perhaps in the remotest parts of the Sudan. The Egyptian Repression 
of Slavery Department is well represented by a number of posts dotted about in the regions most likely to be 
favourable to this traffic. 


In the Sudan, north of Khartoum, forests are scarce and of little extent. Scattered trees of "Samr" 
(Acacia tortilis) reach right into the desert, while on the occasionally flooded " Karu " land, between the 
desert and cultivation, is an open growth of the above with " Selem " (Acacia Ehrenbergii), "Sayal" (Acacia 
spirocarpa), " Hashab " (Acacia Verek), " Tundub " (Capparis aphylla), " Marakh " (Leptadenia Spartium), etc. 

* The figures for 1904 are :— July 1-.'',3S 

August ... ... i-592 

September ... ... -787 

only. • Viae "The Rains of the Nile Basin, 1904," by Capt. H. Lyons, Survey Dept., Eg>pt, just published. 

Forests. 13 

South of Khartoum till about parallel 12° N. the forests consist mostly of belts, usually not of very great width, 
lining the banks of the rivers and khors. In these belts the most valuable tree is the " Sant " or " Sunt " {Acacia 
arabica), known not only for the strength of its wood, but for the tanning properties of its bark and seed pod, and 
also for its excellence as fuel, as well as for its value for boat building. 

Inland, there are open woods of " Heglig" {Balanites agyptiaca), " Talh," and " Hashab," or dense thickets of 
" Kittr " {Acacia mdlijera) and " Laot " {Acacia nubica). 

It is in this zone that the open woods of "Hashab" {Acacia verek), in Kordofan, are carefully tended and 
preserved against fire for the sake of their gum which is exported as " Hashab Geneina " ; the gum from the 
unprotected forests fetching a lower price as " Hashab Gezira," or " Gezira," while that from other acacias is 
known as " Talh," as the Talh tree is the chief producer. 

South of 12" N., where the rainfall is more abundant, the forest on the White Nile is, as far as the northern 
limits of the Sudd, of similar character, only large tracts have been cleared near the river by the Shilluks, and Sant 
has completely disappeared and is not replaced by trees of equivalent value. 

On the Blue Nile the forest changes in character. Not far from the river are numerous gigantic Baobabs 
(" Tebeldi," Adansonia digitata) and " Tarfa " {Sterculia cinerea), while the most abundant trees are the graceful 
"Silag " {Anogeissus leiocarpus) and the Sudan ebony (" Babanus," Dalbergia melanoxylon). 

In these two species, as well as in some others, these forests are like those on the higher lands of the Bahr El 
Ghazal province and parts of Southern Kordofan. The Bahr Bl Ghazal forests cover the larger portion of the 
ironstone deposits in that province, and, as far as quality goes, are probably the finest found in the Sudan, many 
trees of great height and girth being found there, one of them, the African mahogany (" Homraya," Khaya 
senegalensis), having a beautiful timber, already known to commerce. It is in these forests that rubber -producing 
Hanas are most abundant, the best of them being " Ndala " or "Odilo" {Landolfhia owariensis), vide Chapter VII. 

The forests on the Bahr El Jebel and the woodlands of the Bahr El Ghazal province are more like those on 
the Upper White Nile, but some other trees appear, and the forests are not only in belts, but cover large areas. 
Near Mongalla the ironstone appears, and the forests partake of the same character as those of the Upper Bahr El 

The forests on the Abyssinian and Eritrean frontiers have not yet been explored by an expert. 

All over the Sudan the forests suffer greatly from fires which are set alight by the natives either for purposes of 
sport, or to clear the paths, or for grazing after the rains. Owing to these fires numbers of trees get killed or 
mutilated, and it is hopeless to think of developing fine forests until they can be kept under control. 

One of the great economic questions of the Sudan, which gives rise to a certain anxiety, is the future supply of fuel. Fuel. 
Although the felling of trees is under control, those alongside the river necessarily suffer greatly from the demand for 
steamer fuel, and there is not an unlimited supply. So far, no coal or petroleum has been found in the Sudan ; it is 
believed that there are beds of Ugnite in the Dongola Province, but up till now they have not been thoroughly 
explored. Imported coal now costs from £E.4 to £E.6, and petroleum £E.6, a ton at Khartoum. {Vide also p. 20.) 

A certain part of the Sudan — chiefly to the north and north-east and south-east — has been leased to concessionaires ConceBsious. 
for the purpose of prospecting for minerals and exploiting them when found. There are traces of gold and other 
minerals in most of these areas. 

The Sudan is being surveyed (commenced in 1898) on a scale of aTTCoTr- ^"^ ^^^> °^^' ^ sheets out of Survey. 
1.39 projected have been pubhshed, and the work of surveying is proceeding steadily. Vide p. 349. 

The population is very gradually being trained in sanitary methods, but it is a slow process. Efforts are also Sanitary, 
being made to stamp out malaria,* etc., by the latest scientific methods, but the size of most of the malarial districts 
is vastly in excess of the means so far available to deal with them. At Khartoum and at some of the other chief 
towns the steps taken have proved most effectual. 

Vide Report od the Wellcome Research Laboratories — Goi'don College— 1904. 





[Tlifl reader ivlio vmhcs to sttidy in detail the whole question of the Nile Basin, its floods, discharges of rimrs, schemes of 
irngation, etc., etc., is referred to Sir William Garstin's invahmhle " Report on the Basin of the Upper Nile," I.O. 
Bluchooh, Egypt No. 2 (1904). Price 17s.] 



The White Nile and its tributaries form the life blood of the Sudan. The great river traverses it for 2,029 miles General, 
from south to north, receiving on its course through the country the Bahr El Ghazal, the Sobat, the Blue Nile, and 
the Atbara. 

Of these four tributaries the Bahr El Ghazal joins the Nile out of the swamps from the west, whilst the other three 
join it from the east, bringing down the fertiUzing matter from the Abyssinian liills. 

The rise of the Nile takes place during the summer, but the dates naturally vary largely at different points. 

The causes of the flood are, briefly, as follows : — The rains in southern Abyssinia cause the Sobat to rise about 
the middle or end of April. The yellowish-white water caused by this flood reaches Kodok the last week in April. 
The equatorial rains cause the Bahr El Zeraf and White Nile, above the Sobat, to rise about the end of May. The effect 
of the first rise is felt at Haifa about the 20th May. The Blue Nile begins to rise about this time, and brings the 
red fertihzing flood down to Khartoum about the 20th Jime, and to Haifa about the middle of July. The muddy 
Atbara flood (June to August) rises very rapidly after the Blue Nile, and causes the flood to attain its maximum about 
the end of August ; at this period the river is muddiest. The White Nile continues to rise slowly, and its effects (clear 
white water) are felt at Haifa till October, when it falls very slowly. The Blue Nile falls rapidly after the middle 
of September, and the Atbara has generally disappeared by October. The Sobat begins to fall at Nasser early in 

The Bahr El Ghazal rivers rise shghtly in May. These soon subside, and the main floods take place in July and 

The above is a description of an average year. An early maximum {i.e., about the middle of August) generally 
means a low summer flood, and vice versa. The flood at its height moves at about 100 miles a day (below the Atbara).* 

The above dates vary largely in accordance with the time and amount of rainfall in the upper valleys of the rivers. 

Of the flood water annually brought down by the rivers, about half now runs to waste into the Mediterranean 
Sea. The Aswan dam regulates and utilizes this to a certain extent, but a large proportion remains over. This 
it is proposed to utilize in the future for irrigating the Sudan by means of flood and catchment basins ; but the time 
is still distant when this surplus will be entirely devoted to this purpose. 

Up to comparatively recent times the sources of the Nile were involved in mystery .f In ancient days many guesses 
were hazarded at their origin, some geographers maintaining that the Nile rose in the Atlas Mountains of Marocco ; 
others were positive that the Niger formed the upper portion of the great river. During the 17th and 18th centuries 
it was held that the sources were to be found in the " Moimtains of the Moon." These have since been speculatively 
identified with the Ruwenzori Mountains between Lakes Albert and Albert Edward, and, if this theory is correct, 
the ancient geographers were not so far out. 

It was left for Speke and Grant, in 1862, on a journey from the east coast, to discover that the great lake, now known 
as the Victoria Nyanza, was the main source of the White Nile. Sir Samuel Baker, in March, 1863, working up stream, 
discovered the Albert Nyanza ; but it was not till some time afterwards that the actual course of that portion of the 
river, now known as the Bahr El Jebel, was mapped and traversed. Lieutenants Watson and Chippendall, R.E., being 
the first, under Gordon in 1874, to lay down the actual course. During the ensuing years, this, the upper portion 
of the river, was several times blocked with sudd, and at the re-conquest of the Sudan from the Dervishes in 1898, 
it was permanently blocked. An expedition under Major Peake, however, succeeded in clearing a chaimel in 1899- 
1900, and there is no likehhood of the clear channel now existing being, except quite temporarily, blocked again. 

* The flood discharge at Berber is 14,000 metres cube per second. 
_ t For full record of the history of the e-xploration of the Nile vide " The Nile Quest " by Sir H. Johnston. 



White Nile": General. 

The sources of the Blue Nile, which for long was considered as the main river, were, as early as 1770, discovered by 
Bruce to be near Lake Tsana (Abyssinia), but to this day the actual course of the Blue Nile between Lake Tsana 
and Faniaka (Abyssinian-Sudan border) has never been accurately laid down. 

The course of the Atbara, as far upas the junction with it of the Setit, was roughly known before 1864, when Sir 
S. Baker made a more thorough exploration of these rivers, but the courses of the Atbara and Setit lying within the 
Sudan have only recently been fairly accurately laid down. The Atbara rises in the Abyssinian hills, near Chelga, 
where it is known as the Goang 

The Sobat was explored by Marno and Junker in the " Seventies " as far as Nasser, where there was then an Egyptian 
post. It was left for British officers, after 1898, headed by Captain Gamble, to explore the various narrow rivers such 
as the Baro, Pibor, Akobo, etc., which join the main stream from South-West Abyssinia, east of Nasser. The course of 
U»e Upper Pibor was explored by Lieut. Comyn in September, 1904, vide p. 151. 

The course of the comparatively short Bahr El Ghazal river, known to the slave-traders of old times, was laid 
down by Petherick, Gessi, etc., in 1864-78 ; but the courses of the western rivers which flow into it, such as the 
Bahr El Arab* or El Homr, have not yet been even roughly deterftiined. Those of the more southerly affluents, 
such as the Suei or Jur, etc., though not yet accurately fixed, have been sketched in by Junker, Marchand, etc., 
and the British officers in the Bahr El Ghazal since 1900. 

N;anza to 
Bahr el 

Uke No. 


White Nile. 


After leaving the Albert Nyanza, the White Nile (or as it is there called the Bahr El Jebel) flows for 1 10 miles 
in a deep broad arm, with scarcely any velocity or slope, past Wadelai and Dufile to Niraule, and then, after a 
short and troubled coiu*se, between high mountain ranges, tosses over the Fola Rapids in a channel only 50 yards broad. 
From here it continues in a torrent to about Rejaf. Here the river is 7 feet deep at low Nile and 15 feet at flood 
time, discharging between 18,()(X) to 60,000 cubic feet per second. The regulating effects of the great lakes are well 
felt here. It is here at its lowest in winter ; begins to rise about 15th April, with a minimum about the end of August. 

From Rejaf to Bor, 1 12 miles, the river is mainly in one channel with a rapid fall. From Bor to the junction with 
Lake No, ;}84 miles, the river meanders along in numerous marshy channels with a very gentle slope. The main channel 
always used is known as the Bahr El Jebel. In this reach are the dams of hving vegetation, known as the " Sudd " 
(for description see Appendix B). On one stretch the true channel is still blocked with sudd, and a " false " channel, 
a Httle to the westwards, has to be used for about 20 miles. 

At the junction of the Bahr El Ghazal and the Nile in north lat. 9° 29' is Lake No, or Moghren El Buhur,f a 
shallow expanse of water surroimded on all sides by reedy marsh and varying in size according to season, but in summer 
probably about 60 square miles. It forms a reservoir for the sluggish streams that drain the extensive plateau forming 
the water-shed between the Nile and Congo. In summer the lake and its swampy surroundings act as an evaporating 
basin, and the loss of water is consequently considerable. The waters here also become polluted with decaying green 
vegetable matter. 

The Bahr El Ghazal enters Lake No at its western extremity, and the Bahr El Jebel passes through its eastern 
end. The Bahr El Ghazal has a feeble discharge and has no effect at any time on the volume of the White Nile. 

In the stretch between Lake No and the Sobat, 81 miles, the current is slow and the channel occasionally blocked 
by sudd. 

During flood, the Sobat has a discharge nearly equal to that of the Bahr El Jebel above the junction. In the spring 
the discharge from the Sobat is feeble, and the river is then unnavigable. The soil brought down by the Sobat 
is light and friable. 

At the Sobat confluence the river changes its namej and now becomes the Bahr El Abiad or White Nile. 

From this point down to Omdurman, 530 miles, it receives no more perennial affluents, but several large khors 
join it on the east bank between Kodok and Renk — chief of which are Khor Adar and Khor Rau. 

The AVhite Nile flows sluggishly along with a low velocity and gentle slope ; its course is generally straight and its 
section wide and shallow, banks low, supply very constant; the colour and limpidity of its water show very little change 
throughout the year, and the variations between the level of high and low supply are very small, being not more than 
2 to 6 feet. The depth of the river in this stretch ranges from 15 feet at low Nile to 21 feet in flood. In parts, the 
channel in flood time is often of immense width. 

The result of 94 measurements made in J une, 1 862, show the mean width of the river in flood to be 1 ,870 yards. In 
many places, however, the channel is more than 2 miles wide, and in its general appearance it resembles a lake rather 

* An endeavour is to be made during the winter of 1904-5 to explore the Bahr El Arab from its mouth. 

t I.e., Meeting of the Kiver<!. 

I According to some the change takes place at Lake No. 

WTiite Nile: Hiver Discharges. 17 

than a river. Its banks, more particularly the western shore, are very low, and its waters in flood spread for several 
miles over them. Their average height is not more than 8 to 10 feet above low water level, and the maximum difference 
between high and low supply is not more than 6 feet. 

The river is at its lowest by the beginning or middle of April ; the rainfall in the south then causes a constant 
and gradual rise, but the flood does not reach its maximum before the beginning of September. 

The velocity of the current when in full flood is not more than 2\ to 3 miles an hour, whilst in winter this is reduced 
to 1| miles an hour. The water is of an olive green or yellowish brown tinge. It owes most of its colour to the creamy- 
white waters of the Sobat Eiver, called by the Arabs the Bahr El Asfar, or Yellow River. 

An odd phenomenon, the source of which has not been satisfactorily explained, is the " green water," which makes fireen 
its appearance at Dueim about the middle of May. The colour is owing to the mass of minute algse in the water, ^'^t*^''- 
which subsequently putrify and stink, but the origin of the water has not been definitely traced. It is beUeved to 
come from the upper Sobat, or Bahr El Ghazal, and not from the Bahr El Jebel. This green water reaches Cairo 
towards the end of June. 

At Omdurman, half Nile usually occurs about th'5 middle of July, high Nile at end of August or beginning of Junction of 
September, lasting about a month ; half Nile end of November, lowest Nile end of April. The Blue Nile is at its H'f ^'''^^*'^ 
lowest in May, and highest about the end of August. The result of careful measurements during the last 3 years has ''" ""™' 
been to prove that when the Blue Nile is in flood, and generally when its discharge exceeds 5,000 metres cube per 
second, its waters hold back those of the White Nile and, owing to the increased depth in this river, due to the rise in 
the water levels, the volume coming from the south floods the Sudd marshes right and left of the channel and 
thus reduces the discharge of the White Nile by about 50 per cent. 

The average difference between low and high Nile here is 22 feet (17^ to 26 feet). 

The river below Khartoum flows steadily along till it reaches the 6th or Shabluka cataract (see p. 47). Below Below 
this it is not disturbed, except for the rapids of the so-called 5th or El Homar and Bagara cataracts, till it passes Abu Kliartoum. 
Hamed and enters the 4th or Belal cataract some way below this point. This cataract, forming the most compUcated 
and dangerous rapids on the Nile, is for ordinary purposes unnavigable (see p. 36). Below it there is an open stretch 
past Dongola to the 3rd or Hannek cataract, shortly followed by the Kajbar rapids (see p. 26). A rocky channel 
full of small islands and small rapids, increasing in size and importance as the river proceeds, is entered some 80 miles 
below Kajbar, and through the Batn El Hagar the river rumbles along till, after passing the 2nd or Amka cataract, 
it emerges past Haifa in a broad and steady stream which lasts till it arrives at the dam and 1st cataract (Shellal) of 
Aswan. From here onwards there are no further obstacles (except sand-banks and canals) till, via the Delta of Egypt, 
the Mediterranean Sea is gained. 


The following, taken from Sir W. Garstin's Report above mentioned, gives a summary of results respecting 
discharges in the basin of the Upper Nile : — 

1. The Victoria Nile. 

The discharge at the Ripon Falls varies between 500 and 650 metres cube per second with a range of Tl metres. 
Downstream of the Murchison Falls the range is probably 1 metre, and the maximum and minimum discharges 1,000 
and 400 metres cube per second respectively. The increase in flood is due to the rainfall throughout the catchment 
area of the river between these two points, while the decrease during the low season is due to the Choga Lake, which 
undoubtedly has a regulating effect upon the supply issuing from Lake Victoria. Lastly, the volume which enters 
Lake Albert by this river is generally, in flood, greater than that which leaves it by the Bahr El Jebel. 

2. The Bahr El Jebel. 

At Wadelai, the first discharge site, the range of the river is about Ml metres while the discharge varies from 
550 to 950 metres cube per second. The increase brought in by the streams which feed this river between Lake 
Albert and Wadelai is compensated by the loss of water due to a portion of the discharge of the Victoria Nile 
passing south up the lake during the flood season. 

At Lado, 381 kilometres, the range is 2-30 metres, and the discharge in summer averages from 600 to 700 metres 
cube per second. The maximum (generally attained in September) varies between 1,000 metres cube per second in a 
low flood, and 2,000 metres cube per second in a high one. This increase in the flood supply is due to the rainfall 
throughout the river valley, and to the volume added by the many important tributaries, such as the Asua, the Kit, 
etc., which feed the Bahr El Jebel between Wadelai and Lado. 

18 White Nile : River Disclmrges. 

At Bor, 5r)9 kilometres, the loss of water in flood is soma 50 p^r cent, of the amount passing Lado, and the dis- 
charge here can rarely, if ever, exceed 1,0(X) metres cube per second. This loss is due to the filling up of the entire 
river valley, which thus forms an immense basin or reservoir, and reduces the discharge passing to the north. This 
re8er\'oir extends from Lado to the head of the Bahr El Zcraf, a distance of some .'578 kilometres. As the river falls 
the water of this basin, with the exception of the large amount lost by evaporation, slowly filters back through the 
marshes into the river during the winter montlis, and thus maintains the constancy of supply. 

Throughout the " Sudd " region the loss of water in the Bahr El Jebel, both in summer and in flood, is very 
considerable. By the time that Lake No (1,156 kilometres from Lake Albert, and 74'J kilometres from Lado) is 
reached, 85 per cent, of the discharge at Lado has been lost in a high flood, and 70 per cent, in a low one. During 
the summer months the loss at this point varies between 50 and 60 per cent. Lastly, the discharge which enters the 
^\'lute Nile from the Bahr El Jebel is nearly constant at all seasons of the year, and never even in the highest flood 
exceeds 300 or 320 metres cube per second. The regulating effect of the great marshes is thus very apparent. 

3. Thk Bahr El Ghazal. 

The discharge of this river, as a feeder of the White Nile, may be neglected entirely. Its summer volume 
entering Lake No varies from 20 to 30 metres cube per second, while its flood discharge is even less, equalling from 
12 to 20 metres cube per second. None of this water enters the White Nile, merely increasing the flooded area of 
Lake No. It, however, helps to augment the reservoir area of the main stream. 

4. The Bahr El Zeraf, 

This branch of the Bahr EI Jebel adds to the vohmie of the White Nile by an amount varying from 30 to 60 
metres cube per second in summer, and from 80 to 160 metres cube per second when in flood. If, however, the Bahr 
El Jebel is closed by "Sudd" then the discharge of the Bahr El Zaraf increases, possibly to from 30O to 400 metres 
cube per second during the flood season. 

5. The Sobat. 

This river is the main supply of the White Nile during the period of flood. The first effects of its waters are 
felt in May and June, while, as it does not reach its maximum unfil October and November, the volume of the Blue 
Nile having then been largely reduced, it maintains the discharge passing Khartoum to a very considerable figure. 
In years of good flood the discharge of the Sobat varies from 900 to 1,000 metres cube per second. In the early 
months of the year its discharge shrinks to very low limits, its waters being held back by those of the White Nile. 
When in flood the reverse is the case. The volume of the Sobat being at that time more than double that of the 
White Nile causes a rise in the levels of the latter upstream of the junction and holds back its water as far as 
Lake No. 

6. The White Nile. 

The discharge of this river below the Bahr El Zeraf junction varies from 300 to 500 metres cube per second 
according to the season of the year and the nature of the flood. It is probable that the last figure is a maximum 
and is never surpassed.* At El Dueim, 637 kilometres below the Sobat junction, the summer supply varies between 
S.^) and 500 metres cube per second. The minimum levels are generally attained in the month of April and the first 
half of May. The discharge, owing to the Sobat water, gradually increases until the Blue Nile flood exceeds the 
volume of 5,000 metres cube per second at Khartoum. As soon as this figure is passed the discharge of the White 
Nile ifl reduced by an amount varying from 30 to 60 per cent., and this holding back continues until the Blue Nile 
falb again below the figure above given. This reduction of the White Nile discharge takes place in the months of 
August and September. As soon as the Blue Nile discharge has fallen below 5,000 metres cube per second that of 
the White Nile rises very rapidly, attaining its maximum in the months of November and December, when as much 
as from 1,500 to 1,700 metres cube per second have been recorded. This increased discharge is, of course, partly due 
to the Sobat, but also to the draining off of the water which has been ponded up for so long a period. It seems safe 
to assume that the White Nile discharge at Khartoum never under any circumstances exceeds 1,800 cubic metres 
per second. 

To sum up : — The White Nile is at its lowest from March to May. It rises in June, is checked again in August 
and September, and attains its maximum during the months of November and December. Its limits in a low year 

* The dates of its maximum levels upstream of tlie Sobat coincide with tliose of the Bahr EI Jebel. 

White Nile: Navigahility. 19 

are from 300 to 1,500 metres cube per second, and in one of high flood from 400 or 500 to 1,700 metres cube per 

7. The Blue Nile. 

The supply of this river is chiefly derived from the drainage of the basin through which it runs and from the 
large tributaries which enter it downstream of the point where it issues from the Abyssinian hills. The Tsana lake 
has but a small influence upon its supply at any period of the year. It is at its lowest in May, when its discharge 
at times shrinks to nothing. It begins to rise in June and attains its maximum about the end of August. Its 
discharge in a year of good flood is as much as 10,000 metres cube per second, and it seems probable that in a year 
of exceptional flood 12,000 metres cube may pass Khartoum. In September it falls very rapidly, and during the 
winter months rarely discharges more than from 200 to 400 metres cube per second. The Khartoum gauges prove 
that a higher reading is recorded for a given flood discharge when the river is falling than is the case when the river 
is rising. This is probably due to the filling of the valley between Khartoum and the Shabluka Pass. 

8. The Atbara. 

The first water from this river reaches the Nile in the last week of June, and the maximum is usually reached in 
the last days of August, or in the first week of September. The Atbara generally attains its ma:!dmum before the 
full flood from Khartoum has arrived at the junction of the two rivers. After the maximum has been reached, the 
fall of the Atbara is rapid, and by the end of the year the river reverts to its summer state of a series of pools. 
The maximum discharge of the Atbara, measured in 1903, was 3,088 metres cube per second, but this is probably 
surpassed in a year of very high flood. 

9. The Nile north of Khartoum. 

The discharges of 1903 record a maximum of 10,-500 metres cube per second in an average year. If to this be 
added the volume of the Atbara, a total of nearly 14,000 cubic metres per second is reached. As in 1903 the 
levels at both Haifa and at Cairo did not pass those of a very ordinary flood supply, it would seem probable that 
in very high flood a volume of quite 16,000 metres cube per second must pass Berber. 

In conclusion it may be stated with confidence that the White Nile contributes practically nothing to the flood 
which reaches Egypt. This is entirely derived from the Blue Nile and from the Atbara. On the other hand, the 
supply passing Aswan during the spring and early summer is due, almost entirely, to the water of the great lakes 
brought down by the White Nile. 

The following are the water-slopes of the two rivers, as worked out from the discharges : — 

Bahr El Jebel— 

AtWadelai.. .. .. .. .. -jyi-jyTf dry season. 

At Bor TTTiTo floo<i season. 

At 830 kilometres from Lake Albert . . -^^j^jf flood season. 

At Hellet-el-Nuer to^tttt ^ood season. 

At „ „ -i-n rWo dry season. 

At Lake No irrroo flood season. 

At , g^Jniii dry season. 

White Nile- 
Above Sobat 2T70CT0 dry season. 

At Dueim Toy'iMro when Blue Nile has fallen and the White Nile is at its 


At Dueim Trnroo dry season. 

Blue Nile 

At Khartoum Tjioo ^ood season. 

(See also footnote on p. Ill, giving a short table of comparative discharges.) 

Between Haifa and Khartoum (880 miles) the river may be said to be navigable throughout at high Nile. 
Details are given below as to the various cataracts to be encountered, but it may be broadly said that, although 
difficult, it is not impossible to get boats and steamers through in the time of the flood. At low Nile most, if not all, 
of the cataracts are unnavigable. 

* The luaxiiuum is never reac-lied iiutil the late autuiun, when tlie Blue Nile flood has passed away. 


20 White Nile : Navigability— Fuel, Sudd, and Sandbanks. 

Before the Nile Ex]iedition of 1884-85 steamers and boats were taken over the 2nd cataract. During the expedition 
both were taken over the 3rd cataract and intervening rapids, and boats (wlialers) successfully surmounted the 4th 
cataract. In 181)7 gunboats and other steamers were hauled over the latter place, and the rocks of the .^th and 6th 
cataracts have never, when there was enough water, offered serious resistance to the passage of boats or steamers. 

From Khartoum to Gondokoro, practically 1,1(X) miles, the only obstacles to navigation at any time of the year 

are : 

1. The Abu Zeid Ford (occasionally only), and the Azalet or Dankul Rocks near Jebelein, vide p. 59. 

2. Scarcity of fuel. 

3. The sudd. 

4. Sand-banks. 

2. Fuel. — One of the great economic questions of the Sudan which would give rise to anxiety were not the 
Nile-Red Sea Railway already in course of construction is the future supply of fuel. Imported coal now costs 
£E.4 to £E6. per ton, and petroleum £6 to £E.ll-500 per ton at Khartoum. Though a bed of lignitic coal has been 
discovered at Dongola, no other coal, nor even lignite, has so far been located within our boundaries. Wood 
therefore, is and will for some time remain the chief source of fuel supply. The large demand which arose 
with the development of Khartoum has caused the destruction of forest belts along the White and Blue Niles 
to a considerable distance from Khartoum, and although the Forest Department has now control of the fellings, the 
enormous demand is making inroads into the forests from which subsequent fires preclude recovery. 

Wood stations for steamers are established at different points along the banks, at distances usually sufficiently 
near to obviate steamers taking too heavy a load, but there is a long gap between Khor Attar wood station and 
Kanisa (about 'i80 miles), which necessitates steamers carrying a large amount of firewood to enable them to cross 
the sudd region. As there is a heavy tax on the forests afr these wood stations, the fellings are getting farther and 
farther away from the bank, and tramways are necessary to work the more remote portions of the forest. 

3. The Sudd. — A full description of the formation of and methods of deaUng with the sudd are given in Appendix B. 
The Nile was blocked by the sudd from 1870-4, 1878-81, in 1884, and from 1895 to 1900. 

The Nile, before it flows into Lake No, appears to be a channel varying from 100 yards to a mile in width, but, 
from the masthead of a steamer, it would be seen that there is a sea of papyrus grass, bulrushes, and reeds on either 
aide of this water chamiel, and that the real banks of the river are 4, 8, or even 12 miles distant on either side. 
Under all this vegetation is water, which is slowly making its way down to fill up the void caused by the absorption of 
the water by plants and sun. The matted vegetation which floats on the top of the water is so thick that it is possible 
to walk on it ; and, were it not for this covering, the evaporation over such a vast area would greatly diminish the 
supply of water to Lower Egypt. 

A considerable part of the Nuer tribe actually live on the floating mass of vegetation, fish and the stalks of a water- 
lily forming their only food. The surface of the water is covered by a dense tangled mass of papyrus, anibach, and 
other water plants, which in places grow to a height of from 15 to 30 feet. 

At the rise and fall of the Nile, quantities of the grass get torn away and float down stream. If the season is 
unusually wet, the stream increases in bulk and rapidity, and innumerable large masses of the grass, hurried and packed 
by the wind, are sent floating down ; these jamb in the channels and form the sudd blocks. 

The channel of the river is very tortuous ; at Lake No, for instance, where the Bahr El Ghazal flows into the Nile, 
there is a sharp turn to the east. If the water contributed simultaneously by the Bahr El Ghazal happens to be 
insignificant and incapable of sweeping away the floating masses, a block is the result at this point. 

4. Sandbanks. — They are not as a rule any considerable obstacle, but are, of course, more troublesome at low 
than at high Nile, and shift about every year. 

Steamers with no encumbrances, and with fuel ready cut for them to pick up, take about 12 days up stream from 
Khartoum to Gondokoro, and about 8 days down stream. (Record journey in 1903 : 11 days up and 7 down). 

The navigation np to the mouth of the Sobat is at all times easy, the Abu Zeid Ford and occasional rocks and 
sandbanks forming the only difiicidties. The deepest channels he usually towards the east bank. From the Sobat 
to Gondokoro a perfect and recent knowledge of the route is required, in order not to deviate into any of the lateral 
branches which are frequently met with, and which, varying from year to year, are chiefly in evidence during and after 
the rainy season. 

There are also many sandbanks on this stretch. Between Gondokoro and Rejaf the river is rather difficult when 
low on account of shifting sandbanks and islands. There are a few rocks, but not dangerous, except at one ])oint. 

Between Rejaf and Bedden there is the same difficulty of shifting sandbanks and sunken rocks, which are, however, 
isolated and few in number, and might be blasted away. The current here is about IJ miles an hour. At Bedden 
there is a bad rapid necessitating a transhipment ; but from there boats can go to Kiri. 

From Kiri to Lahore there are awkward rapids, but the river might be utilised to a great extent. The river con- 

White Nile; Climate. 21 

tinues of much the same character till the junction of the Asua, when the rapids become more serious, terminating in 
the Fola Rapids. 

The last 15 miles before reaching Nimule are quite impassable to any steamers or boats. 

From here on, the river is free of any obstacles up to Lake Albert. 

Between Dufile and Lake Albert the Nile is very sluggish, and papyrus islands abound in it. Breadth ot channel 

Boats and Steamers. 
The usual Nile boats are the " Nugger " and " Gayassa," varying in capacity from 5 to 400 ardebs. The latter 
solidly built, with high bows, and free board, and lateen-rigged, is the Egyptian boat, whilst the former, which is 
found from the 2nd cataract southward, is flat, with low free board, and is roughly though solidly built without ribs. 
Rafts, canoes, inflated waterskins and water-tight pots are also used for individual navigation. Further up stream 
" dugouts " and ambach canoes are seen. Of steamers there are 10 gunboats, 21 other steamers, and 6 launches on 
the river, mostly stern-wheel ; a few are screw, and one or two paddle. {Vide Chap. X, Part I.) 

Landing Places. 

From Haifa to Khartoum and from Khartoum up to Goz Abu Guma it is possible to land almost anywhere on 
either bank. From there up to Kodok, owing to the broad reed fringe on either bank, landing is difficult except at 
the following places, viz. : — Jebelein, Um Ashrin, Karshawal, Renk, Meshra Leungtom or Domaia, Meshra Zeraf, 
Meshra Rom, Kaka, Kaka Wood Station, Melut and Demtemma. All these, except Kaka and Um Ashrin, are on 
the right bank. 

As Gordon states, in the stretch between Kodok and 100 miles north of it, " People do land, but it is over your 
knees in the rainy season," and even if a landing is effected, progress inland is always liable to be arrested by wide 
and deep khors which are really branches or overspills from the main stream : these obstacles are encountered even 
in the dry season. 

There are easy landing places in many spots between Kodok and Lake No, then nothing except Hellet Nuer, 
Shambe, Abu Kuka, and Kanisa for .360 miles till Bor ; south of Bor the best known ones are at Kiro, Lado, 
Mongalla, Gondokoro and Rejaf, though elsewhere a landing can generally be effected, especially on the left bank of 
the western channel, which leaves the main river near N. Lat. 5° 30'. Above Rejaf one can land anywhere up to the 
Fola Rapids. Between Dufile and Magunga (on Lake Albert) there are five landing places. 

(v.)— CLIMATE. 

The rains on the Upper Nile in the equatorial regions from the Albert Nyanza to the Bahr El Ghazal last from 
February or March to October or the middle of November. 

As one proceeds northwards the heavy rains come later ; the " Kherif," or rainy season, in the neighbourhood 
of Kodok, lasts, as a rule, from the m'ddle of May to the end of October, whilst at Khartoum it may be said to be 
during July, August, and September. At Haifa there is no rainy season. 

At Gondokoro the hot weather commences middle of November and lasts till the end of March. 

Colonel Stewart states (188.3) : — " The rains are very heavy, lasting 10 to 12 hours at a time. From Gondokoro 
south to the Equator, rainy seasons increase in length, till on the Equator it may be said that rain and sunshine succeed 
each other in rapid succession all the year round." 

Heavy thunderstorms and rains occur at intervals during the rest of the year, especially from October to January 
in the hilly regions round Rejaf and the Sudd district to the north of it. 

During late autumn winds are very variable, blowing from all points of the compass. East and south-east winds 
at this period predominate, especially in the upper reaches. During the rest of the year the north wind, varying from 
north-west to north-east, is fairly constant, except during the summer rains, when the wind shifts to the south and 


The average maximum and minimum shade temperatures on the Upper Nile during the hot months are 99° and 
85° respectively, and during the rest of the year 88° and 74°. Between Khartoum and Haifa the maximum average 
is a good deal higher, and the minimum rather lower. 

In the Sudd region and south the maximum averages about 85°, but, owing to the dampness of the district, 
from April to December fevers are rife, and the heat and mosquitos are difficult to bear with equanimity. 

E 2 




Section 1.— Halfa to Merowe. 

The northern boundary of the Sudan (and of the Haifa Province), though nominally the 22nd parallel of north 
latitude, begins for administrative purposes on the Nile at Faras Island, 12 miles north of the point where that parallel 
crosses the river and 20 miles north of Haifa. Opposite Haifa the river is some 9(K) yards broad, and is navigable up 
to the loot of the 2nd cataract, 2(;i miles up stream. 

Beyond the 2nd cataract the river runs through the broken rocky country of Batn El Hagar, and is full of rocks 
and rapids which require careful steering, even for small boats at high Nile, up to the Amara rapid. Beyond this the 
river is fairly easy till the 3rd or Kajbar Cataract is approached. At this point the Nile again works its way through 
broken hilly ground covered with boulders, and from thence it is plain boating, except for sandbanks, till Merowe. 

A road, or rather a fair camel track — total 228 miles from Haifa to opposite Dongola — runs along the right bank 
of the river, taking short cuts across bends (notably for .'55 miles across the desert between Kosha and Abu Sari) all 
the way, but has naturally been considerably superseded by the railway. On the left bank there is also a through 
camel track, but it keeps further from the river and is less used than that on the other bank. (For detail, vide I.D.W.O. 
map No. 148il, sheets Wadi Haifa, Kosha, Dongola, Debba, and Merowe.) 

The railway (3 feet 6 inches gauge) extending from Haifa to Kerma (203 miles) was started in Ismail Pasha's time 
(1877), carried on nearly to Akasha in 1884-5, almost entirely destroyed by the Dervishes (1885-90) and rebuilt to 
provide means of transport for the Dongola Expedition in 189C. Of necessity it was rapidly and lightly laid, and it is 
now (1904) in a bad state of repair. Owing to the great cost which would be involved in its complete repair, it is 
to bo abandoned (see Chapter X, Section I). 

(For administrative and economical details of the Haifa and Dongola Provinces, vide Chapters III and IX.) 

N.B. — In the river table, in order to avoid fractions, as a rule only the nearest mile or kilometre is given. 
Kilometres, where given, are in itaUcs : 5 miles = 8 kilometres. 

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Section 2.- — Merowe to Khartoum. 
Sub-Section (a). Merowe to Abu Hamed. 

The distinguishing feature of the river between Merowe and Abu Hamed is the difficulty of navigation, and also 
of communications along either bank. A variety of rapids, mostly impassable except at high Nile, form the 4th Cataract, 
which extends practically from Belal to Shirri, a distance of about 67 miles, whilst there are little or no cultivation or 
supplies, except in patches on either bank. This (Rapids) portion of the river was ascended in whale boats by most of 
the River Column in 1885, and the right bank was traversed by General Hunter's flying column in 1897, when proceeding 
to attack Abu Hamed. Otherwise it is not now generally in use for communications,* owing to these obvious difficulties. 
A telegraph line now connects Merowe with Abu Hamed. 

[The reader who may wish for further detail than that given below is referred to " N.O." 1st and 2nd editions 
' 1897 and 1898), which give some additional reports by slightly different routes.] 

Remarks on the Shaigia Cataracts. 
(Lieiit. Poore, R.N., October, 1884.) 

The prevailing winds are north-easterly and boats can rarely use their sails, excepting occasionally at high Nile 
when a southerly wind may blow for a few days. 

Boats leaving Ambugol for Abu Hamed invariably have to tow the whole way. 

The pilots state the average passage of a nuggerf from Merowe to Abu Hamed as being from 35 to 40 days, but 
they appear to perform the journey in parties of about 10 boats, in order to supply their own hauling labour, thus 
considerably increasing the time of passage. 

Nuggers generally leave Debba on the trip to Abu Hamed 20 days before high Nile and try to time their arrival 
at Abu Hamed as soon as possible after the river begins to fall. 

Steamers should not leave Merowe for Abu Hamed later than 10 days after high Nile. 

Nuggers should not leave Merowe for Abu Hamed later than 15 days after high Nile. 

There are men in the village of Bela at the foot of the Gerendid Cataract and in a few of the villages near Merowe 
who are acquainted with the different cataracts, but would seem to be more useful as guides to point out the different 
channels than as pilots, their knowledge of boats or nuggers seeming very hmited. 

It would be advisable to take pilots for the cataracts from the rais of nuggers. 

Supphes between the cataract of Gerendid and Abu Hamed are very scanty, a few scattered patches of date palms, 
wheat and dura constituting all cultivation. 

Between the different cataracts the banks appear to be rocky and badly adapted for towing. The stream is swift 
with frequent sharp bends and the river studded with rocks and small islands. 

* A reconnai.ssauce for a lailway oouliecting Merowe Vvith Abu Hamed » as carried out in April and May, 1904, by Lieut. 
Newcombe, Il.E. The amount of rock cutting necessary to lay the line neai- the river on the R.B. is said to be prohibitive, and the 
most feasiljle scheme seenjs to be to lay tlie line some distance "inland and a|jproach the river perhaps twice only between Abu Hamed 
and Merowe. The length of line would be roughly about 150 miles. It has been definitely decided to commence the construction of 
this line at an early date. 

+ Nowadays (1904) nuggers nevei- make this journey. 

36 Merowe^—Ahi^JIamed, 

Confusion may arise from the custom of the pilots and natives hi continuing the terms east and we?t as regards 
the river banks after the river has turned to the northward at Ambugol ; the right bank being invariably termed the 
east and vicf versa without reference to the direction of the river. Thus, between Ambugol and Abu Hamed, a wind 
which is termed by the pilots south-westerly is in reaUty north-easterly. 

Report on Passage of 4th Cataract by Nuggers and Gayassas. 
(Capain W. Doran, August, 1897.) 

The following is a report on the river between Kassingar and Amari, together with remarks on points that have 
come under my observation : — 

Xuggers with a strong favourable wind can get up to Meshra El Abiad, but there is a strong current below Meshra 
El Abiad for about 3 or 4 miles, and the track (on the right bank) is rocky, or much obstructed by sunt trees. 

Meshra El Abiad presents no great difficulty. About 50 men will pull a nugger of 200 ardebs through in half an 

For about 3 miles after leaving Meshra El Abiad, the channel on the right bank presents no difficulty, though 
the stream is strong, and the banks steep and covered with sunt bushes, which at high Nile will impede towing. 

About o miles from Meshra El Abiad the banks become rocky, and rapids are met with ; the water being very bad, 
and rocks numerous. I crossed this rapid, which is about a mile in length, and extends to just below the village of 
Shebabik, in half a gale. Otherwise, I should think the passage would be difficult, as the rocks on the right bank are 
very steep, and without a strong wind portage would probably be necessary. From Shebabik village, by following 
a channel on the right bank past the village of Abu Haraz, good water is met with for about 6 miles, till the cataract 
of Halfaya is reached. 

From Halfaya to the village of Amari, a distance of about 2 miles, the river is very difficult, tortuous, and rocky, 
towing being necessary throughout. 

From Amari, I am informed, the river is not difficult. 

It must be understood that these remarks refer to the river as I found it. Any rise or fall may make difficult 
places easy, and vice versd. 

I would venture to make the following suggestions for future river convoys ; — • 

1. That only boats of 150 ardebs should be sent up at present. Large boats are unwieldy, cause great delay, break 
ropes, and run the risk of losing stores. For example, one of my boats of 300 ardebs took 4 hours to get up a place 
which boats of 150 ardebs crossed in an hour. It broke two ropes, and was nearly wrecked on several occasions, besides 
being always a source of delay to the rest of the convoy. The exertion caused to the men in hauUng these heavy boats 
is very great, much greater than that of hauling two boats of half the capacity. 

2. Each convoy should consist of not more than 20 boats under a British officer, and should have with it two com- 
panies (200 men) of an Egyptian battalion to haul the boats over the cataracts, and in the ordinary stream when the 
wind is unfavourable. If the water proves easy beyond this place, Amari, these men might return to Merowe from 
here by return convoy. Men who are good swimmers should be selected, if possible, and, as the work entails great 
exertion on the men — most of them having to stand work in the water all day — the companies should be relieved after 
one or two trips. 

Unless considered necessary for safety, these men should not bring arms or ammunition with them, except just 
sufficient for a small guard, as these have to be portaged across bad places, causing delay. 

The large cooking pot, " kazan," is not suitable for these occasions, as men are often separated on islands from 
the rest of the convoy at night time, and are unable to get their proper food after a hard day's work. Something 
of the Flanders kettle type would be better. 

3. Each convoy should be provided with four strong hemp ropes of at least 200 fathoms each, in addition to the 
smaller ropes carried by each boat. These latter should be inspected before the convoy starts. 

A small boat of about .50 ardebs would also be most useful to enable the officer in charge of the convoy to go up 
and down his convoy, and also to assist in the portage of stores from the nearer boats when they get stuck in shallow 
places or rocks. 

Report ox the Passage of Gunboats from Merowe to Abu Hamed, 9th to 29th August, 1897 {vide 1489, 

Merowe and Abu Hamed Sheets.)* 

{Commander Colin JCeppel, R.N.) 

To Kasinjar on right bank, river broad, navigation simple. No obstacles. Thence to Kenisha, navigation easy. 



* F<ir piuctical j)iirp<wf8 refeivnee should lie made to Capt. E. A. Stanton's large scale sketches (I.D. Nubia District, 132) of 
1 August, 1897 (El B.-iiia and Halfia), and 25th August, 1807 (Geridu Rapid). Letters refer to points thus marked on these 

Merotoe — Aim Hamed. 37 

At Meshra El Abiad there is a difficult, narrow passage between two rocky islands, with a very sharp turn.. Water 
very rapid, which continues until Um Deras Island is reached. 

N.B. — The cataract marked on the official map as El Dermi was not recognisable at this time of the year. 

Um Deras Island is practically at the foot of what is termed the Gab El Abd, or 4th Cataract. It was from thence 
that a course by the left bank was followed by the river column in 1884-85. This channel was found to be so difficult 
and dangerous at high Nile, it was decided to examine thp channel by the right bank. This was found to be more 
easily navigable for steamers at this time of the year. It should, however, be noted that this channel, though navigable 
for steamers at high Nile, and undoubtedly the only channel to be followed with safety at that time, would be impassable 
at any other time of the year. As at low Nile, many parts of it are dry. 

From Um Deras Island to the point marked Khor Abu Herejil (north bank) (A),* no great difficulties are encountered. 

At this point all guns, ammunition stores, and heavy gear of every description were taken out of the steamers 
and portaged to the camp of El Bana, a distance of about 2 miles. 

The following arrangements were then made for passing the steamers over this cataract : — 

A wire hawser was fastened round the ship. Two hawsers were then led out of the steamer, one for hauling, and 
other to serve as a guy to steady her, and to prevent her bow from being taken round by the force of water. 

About 600 yards up-stream, at the junction of a smaller channel (B), these hawsers were slipped, and the steamer 
reached the southernmost point of the next bend (C). 

From this point to a point 1,100 yards up-stream (D) the greatest difficulties were met with, owing to the necessity 
of passing ropes on to the island 300 yards up-stream (E). As many men as could swim had to cross over to this 
island. The steamer was then hauled up to the southern end of the island. 

The rope had now to be passed from the island (E) to point (D). 

At point (D) the haulage became very difficult, as the river thence, for 600 yards, to point (G), in mid-stream, is 
intersected by isolated rocks, upon which it was necessary to have groups of men in order to pass the rope from one 
rock to another. From point (G) the hawser was then led to the mainland. Guy ropes were used throughout. 

After passing the rock marked (G) powerful steamers, of the " Zafir " class, were able to steam, without further 
haulage, to El Bana, but otherwise is was necessary to use ropes for hauling up to El Bana. 

On leaving El Bana, the channel on the right bank was followed, and though the water was rapid in places, rushing 
between numerous small islands, no great difficulty was encountered until arrival at the foot of the Geridu (Geriddo) 
Rapids (;3J miles up). Here it was necessary to tie up to the bank in order that each steamer might pass over the 
rapid separately. 

It will be seen that the channel takes a very sharp turn here (between points A and B) ; a large volume of water 
rushes with considerable force between an island (440 yards long, with a rock at the west end) and the south bank 
(a promontory on the south bank), where a rope was attached to a rock, and then gradually eased off to let the bow 
go round. 

From Geridu to Hosh El Geruf the channel is devoid of obstacles. 

The channel taken was by the right, until El Shwadiyat was reached, whence it crosses to the left bank, and con- 
tinues thus as far as Rakabat El Gamal ; here the river becomes a maze of small islands. The channel continues by 
the left (?) bank of Dulka Island (known by the natives as Dirbi), smaller islands being left on the starboard side. 
The current thence became very strong, and continued so until Kirbekan Rapids was reached. 
At the bottom of these rapids the steamers were stopped, but the cataract, after examination, having been considered 
passable without haulage, each steamer went over it separately, in order to prevent any risk of one hampering another. 
The main stream was then followed as far as Uss Rapids ; here the volume of water was very great. From the 
top of Uss Rapids the channel followed was by the left bank as far as Sherari Island, whence it passes by the right 
bank of that island, and thence between it and Shirri Island to the right bank of the river. 

The river now becomes very broad, and navigation is practicable on either bank from Salamat to Hebi. From 
Hebi to Abu Selem the channel is by the left bank. In Huella Rapids there was a strong rush of water. 

The river now becomes much intersected by small islands, and, though navigation is not very difficult, skilful 
pilotage is necessary. 

Wood was found in the following places : — 

El Bana. Salamat. 

Hosh El Geruf. Abu Selem. 

Uss village. Left bank, just below Mograt Island. 

G 2 

MerouK—Abu ITamed. 

Itinkraby (Lkft Bank) from Abu Dom Sanam to oxtosite Hebi (ou Hkisb.v) 

{Major Slade, R.A., Fehruarii, 1885.) 

Xames of Places. 


El Daeini 





Khor-el-Sorawi ... 


El Dtigaiyet 


Jebel Kulgeili 


E! Kabur 

;: u 







A small scattered village ; a large white-domed tomb makes it visible for some distance. 
A compact hamlet, mostly of straw huts, 4 mile from the river. The lianks, which for 

the last 4 miles have been bare, here become studded with palms. 
A collection of wells and sagias from which the ground is cultivated. The uncultivated 

ground is covered with coarse grass. A low range of hills here touches the south of 

the road. 
This village extends a considerable distance inland. Near it, to the south of the road 

are 11 pyramids. Soon after leaving them the alluvial ground over which the road has 

hitherto passed gives place to sand. 
A large well-built village. The road here run? close to the river between small patches 

of cultivation and a track of very broken rocky ground, which comes to within 4 mile 

of the river. This stony tract is about 50 feet above the alluvial ground. At tlie east 

end of the village ci break in the cultivation leaves room for a small camp on the 

river bank. 
A dry watercourse, 20 yards wide. It shows signs of out-pouring a considerable stream 

in the rainy season. 1 mile further to the east the river makes a sliarp l^end to the 

north-east, the edge of broken ground continuing to run in an easterly direction. The 

road takes an intermediate course across a plain of firm gravel which lies between the 

rocks and the river. 
A small village A mile to the north of the road, at the foot of a small rocky hill, in au 

angle of the river. 
A scattered village. The broken ground here again comes to within i mile of the river. 

There is a good camping ground on the river bank near the village. The road to Bir 

Sani and Berber here branches off. It runs at first over very rocky ground. There are 

said to be 90 islands in the river between this place and Belal. The cultivation of the 

district is for the most part on these islands. 
A very long village with a fair amount of cultivation. The road from Dugaiyet runs 

between the broken ground and thick bush. Just before reaching Hamdab the rocky 

ground opens out considerably at the mouth of the Khor El Shungui. A good camping 

ground on the river bank. The road described from Hamdab onwards was followed 

by part of Eiver Column, 188."). 
Dates, durfi, cotton, dukhn, and barley grown. The road to Berber leaves the river 

about 2 miles below Hamdab, crossing the rocky ground at a point marked by two 

solitary dom palms. 
Good camping ground for a large force, commanded by rocky ridge, 400 yai-ds from river. 
The road as far as Jebel Kulgedi skirts the belt of cultivation, which is interspersed with 

a few native houses. It is commanded the whole way by a low ridge of rocks, at n, 

distance from the river varying from 50 to 500 yards. 
Jebel Kulgeili, 400 feet high, commands the surrounding country for a distance of several 

miles. The direct desert road toBerti (19 miles) leaves the river at the foot of this hill. 
The road, after leaving Kulgeili, becomes rocky and much cut up by ravines and sandy 

kliors, gradually becoming more diflicult as the islands of Auli are approached. The 

ricer between Hamdab and Auli is quite open, and free from broken water. 
At Auli the cataract of Terai commences ; but it is not difficult. There are several 

houses and much cultivation on the islands and on the left bank. Good camping 

grounds are to be found. 
Cidtivation extends along the road, broken at times by rocky and barren ground. At El 

Kabur, which is situated at the end of the nest of islands which forms the 4th or 

Ederrai Cataract, there is scanty cultiAation and a few houses. 
From Aidi to El Kabur by water the boat channel follows the right bank. There is one 

difficult gate, aljout two-thirds of the way u|), at which heavy stores have to be 

poi-taged. The country to the east of the road along the left bank is very rocky and 

broken, and nearly impracticable for cavalry. 

Merowe — Aho Hamed. 


Names of Places. 

Distances in miles. 






Kabeinat (ruined forts) 

Mushaai ridge .. 


Gamra ... 


Jebel Kirbekan... 







The road leaves the river at El Kabur and follows the bed of a sandy khor until an old 
ruiued fort built upon a rocky prominence commanding the river is reached. The 
rocky and broken ground skirts the river between El Kabur and Kabeinat, and is 
impracticable for cavalry. Opposite this ruined fort there is another of a similar kind. 
The river between these two forts is very narrow, and forms the commencement of the 
Kabeinat Cataract. 

The road skirts the river bank ; but although the country is more open than that pre- 
viously travelled it is broken at parts by rocky ridges and deep ravines. Much acacii 
and many dom palms are found. 

Kabeinat Cataract presents no difficulty to navigation, and although the current is rapid, 
no broken water otferiug serious impediments to the passage of boats, is met with until 
the Cab El Abd Gate, 2 miles above the ruined forts, is reached. Here there is a 
direct fall of water which, however, can be avoided by going over to the right bank. 
From this point to Mushani ridge, which may be called the upper end of Gab El Abd 
Cataract, the river presents most serious difficulties. Tracking from rocks and islands 
has invariably to be resorted to, and at low Nile it is doubtful whether even light boatn 
could be taken up this part of the river. 

Mushani Ridge commands the country to the north-east as far as the distant hills over- 
looking Berti. The ridge runs at right angles to the river, and the rocks and boulders 
in which it terminates come down close to the left bank of the river. There is but 
little cultivation along this part of the river, except on the islands of Umderas and 
Amri, the former of which is passed just after leaving Kabeinat, and at the village of 
Shebabik on the right bank opposite the lower end of Umderas Island. 

There is a large tomb and a few detached huts at this point, with a certain amount of 
cultivation, very good camping grounds, much mimosa, and many dom-palm trees. 

The cataract of Um Hababoa is here met with, lying between Kandi Island and the left 
bank. It is very difficult, and it is supposed, from the remains of wreckage found 
lying about, it was near tins point that Ismail Pacha abandoned his boats in 1820. 

This cataract can be avoided at high Nile by going between the islands of Amri and 
Kandi, the piwsage between which islands was nearly diy in February, 1885. 

A track leads from Warrak to Berti, across rocky and broken ground ; but it is not much 
shorter than that generally followed. 

The road skirts the river through considerable cultivation, mostly dukhn. At Gamra, 
which is opposite the upper end of Kandi Island, there are several native huts, and 
good camping grounds can everywhere be found. 

The river between Warrak and Gamra is not difficult ; but there is a very swift current, 
and tracking is necessary at certain points from the left bank. 

One mile beyond Gamra the road leaves the river to avoid the rocky kopjes which com- 
mand the foot and mark the commencement of the Eahami Cataract. It strikes the river 
again 2 miles below Berti. It is very rocky, and much cut up by deep khors and ravines. 

A broad, sandy khor leaves the rivtr li miles above Gamra, and runs away to the east 
until lost in the desert. 

By following this khor until it strikes the Kulgeili-Berti road, the mountains and rocky 
countiy overlooking Berti can be avoided, and Berti entered at its upper end. 

The river between the foot of Rahami Cataract and Berti offers most serious obstacles to 
navigation. The boat channel lies along the right bank. 

Berti is a scattered village extending over a length of 2 miles. It is situated mostly on 
an island which, howevei', forms part of the mainland at low Nile. The cultivation is 
very rich and plentiful, and barley, dura, cotton, wheat, beans, dates, and dukhn grow- 
in great abundance. This is the boundary between Dongola and Berber Provinces. 

The lower end of the village is situated in rocky gi'ound, but the larger portion lies in 
the open. 

The direct road from Jebel Kulgeili enters near the house of Suleiman Wad Gamr, about 
half-way up the village. 

Berti is the head-quarters of the Monasir tribe, and is on the boundary between Berber 
and Dongola Provinces. 

The island of Ishashi is passed just before reaching Berti, and is very richly cultivated. 

Between Berti and El Kirbekan there are several pieces of broken water, but nothing 
worthy of the term " cataract " is to be met with until opposite Dulka Island, where 
the cataract of Ragabat El Gamal obstructs the river ; it is uol; difficult. Boni I'^land 
lies on the right side of the river, abreast of and overlapping Dulka Island, and 
between it and the right bank the eitaract of Abu Siiyal is situated. It is impassable 
at low Nile. In the centre of Boni Island, and in prolongation of the Kirbekan 


Md'owe—^Abu Hamed. 

Names of Places. 

£1 Kirbekao (village) ... 

ebukuk Pass (south end) h 

Uistaucti ill luiles. 





Sbukuk Pass (north end) 7^ 

Salainat .... 







ridge, is a i-emarkable round-topped mountain, which can be seen for several miles 
before Boni Island is reached. 

Ou leaving the belt of cultivation at Berti, the track leaves the river and winds througli 
a mass of rocks iind boulders until it again stiikes the river opposite a small island, on 
which are the remains of a ruined castle (Castle Camp of lliver Column) ; distance 
from Berti, 6 miles. Scant cultivation and a good camping ground for a small force 
are here to be found. 

After leaving the bank opposite the luined aistle, the track again quits the river and 
follows the bed of a sandy khoi-, interrupted in parts by belts of rocks and boulders 
until the liver is again struck opposite Dulka Island ((ii miles from Castle Camp), 
where there is a good camping ground amidst patches of cultivation. One and a half 
miles beyond this jx)iiit the long razor-backed hill, running at right angles to the 
course of the Nile, and known as Jebel Kirbekan (300 feet), ia situated. It completely 
blocks the road, but can be easily turned by marching round its south-west extremity. 

The action of 10.2.85 took place here. 

Ou leaving .Jebel Kirbekan, the track follows the bed of a sandy khor, much broken in 
places by rocks, &c., for 4 miles, when the village of El Kirbekan, at the lower 
entrance of the Shukuk Pass, is reached. Here there are a few mud houses, palm 
trees, and some scant vegetation ; barley, dura, and dukbu. 

The Wadi El Arku, which breaks up into several outlets on neaiing the river, comes out 
at this point, and it is here that the direct rofi,d to Abu Egli (78 miles), vid the Jura 
Wells (48 miles), leaves the river. 

The Shukuk Pass is entered immediately after leaving El Kirbekan. The track leaves 
the river, and follows the bed of a sandy khoi-, completely commanded by rocky 
heights varying from 20 feet to 100 feet, until Jebel Shukuk (350 feet) is reached. 
This mountain, with its conspicuous marble tops, marks the half-way through the 

Leaving Jebel Shukuk on the left-liaiid side, the track inclines towards the river, the 
Pass becomes narrower and more difficult, and at places it is impossible for more than 
one loaded camel to pass at a time. The track at this point is nearly impracticable, 
and it is with the greatest difficulty that even horses can keep their footing. 

The Shukuk Pass terminates suddenly opjjosite the upper end of Uss Island, and at the 
commencement of Shoar Island, on which latter island there are many small villages, 
and much cultivation. 

The Shukuk Pass can be turned by leaving the river at El Kirliekan, striking into the 
desert and skirting the whole block of mountains through which the pass runs. This 
is an easy half-day's camel lide, but there is no water along the road. 

Capt. Maxse eays (1 807) the pass is 7 miles long ; there is water at each end, and the going 
is good, with the exception of J mile at the south-west entrance, and | mile at the north- 
east exit. 

During that first | mile at the entrance the roadway is narrow and intricate, the path 
being strewn with quantities of small loose rocks and boulders. These could be cleared 
away. The labour thus expended would greatly facilitjite all subsequent movements 
of troops and transport. 

The J mile of exit could similarly be much improved by manual lalwur. A little blasting 
would help still more here. 

There is, however, 100 yard.s of pathway at the bottom of a deep cutting, which would 
defy ordinary appliances. .Still there is room for a loaded camel, and the removal of 
loose stones would make even this bit easy. 

The interior of the pass is mostly a broa!d, level, sandy khor, varying in width from 
5 y.irds to 20O yards. 

Should the [lass be held by a stubborn foe, it can be turned without difficulty from the 

The river between El Kirbekan and the end of the Shukuk Pass is clear and fx-ee from 
obstacles, though it flows at times between steep and rocky banks. 

Just as the upper end of Uss Island is reached, a small rapid has to be passed which is 
not, however, very difficult. 

Both north and south of the Shukuk Pass there are numerous drawings of a rough 
descrii)tion representing ciittle, monkeys, and dog.s, probably the same period as those 
at Murnit — 2nd anil 3rd century a.d. (Major Sit H. Hill, Bart). 

Ou delK)Uching from the Shukuk Pass, the country commences to ojwn out, and the hills 
to recede further from the river. 'J"he track follows the bank, which now commences 
to become more generally cultivated. Just before coming abreast of Shoar Island, the 

Meroive — Ahu Hamed. 


Names of Places. 

Opposite Hebi,or Hebbii 

Distance in miles. 








track ascends a rocky plateau, fioni the summit of which the first view of .Je'Del Oama 
is obtained. 
The Island of Sherrai follows Slioar Island, but it is very barren and rocky. One mile up 
this island the cataract of Tuari is passed. It is very difficult, and the river is here 
mucli broken by rocks and shallows. 
After passing Tuari Cataract the cultivation increases still more, and sacias and groups 
of date palms occur at frequent intervals along the bank. The fertile and densely 
populated Island of Sherri succeeds that of Sherrari. 
The track continues along the bank of the river, deviating occasionally to avoid clusters 

of rocks on a khor, until Salanuit, op|)osite the uppei' end of Sherri Island, is reached. 
It is at this point that the cataract of Um Deras is placed on the official maps, but no 

impediment to navigation exists. 
Salamat, the principal village in the Monasu- country, is a long straggling village of 
fairly-built mud huts, the princii)al of which belong to Suleiman Wad Gamr and his 
uncles, Omar and Abu Bakr. The country is very rich and there are several large 
groups of palm trees. 
The desert comes down to the bank of the river on the right bank, just above Salamat. 
The track, after leaving Salamat, follows the bank of the river until Jebel (.)sma is 

reached, 3 miles 
Leaving this solitary mountain on the left, a detour of 1 mile is made, where the river 
is again struck. A broad sandy khor runs at the foot of Jebel Osma. The bank is 
now followed until abreast of the village of Hebi, situated on the right bank. The 
road is good throughout. Patches of rich cultivation are constantly met with, near 
groups of huts built in the rooks and bouldei-s, which are left on the right-hand side. 
There are two broad khors running into the desert between Salamat and Jebel Osma. 
Mimosa or sunt trees, of an unusually large size, are met with along the road. The 
river is free from obstruction. 
If going to Abu Hamed, it is advisable to cross the Nile opposite Hebi, where the i-iver 
affords great facilities for crossing and swimming animals. The island of Kan and 
smaller islands on the right bank may be utilized in the crossing. Lieut. -Colonel 
Stewart's steamer, on its way from Khartoum, was wrecked on the island of Kan on the 
18th September, 1884, and he and his party were treacherously murdered in the house 
of one named Othman Fakri, commonly known as Othman Amian, in the village of Hebi. 
Hebi is a straggling village, composed of small mud huts, built in the rocks. There are 
some conspicuous palm trees on the bank of the river. The village was completely 
destroyed by the British troops in February, 188."). There is much cultivation in and 
near Hebi : dura, dukhn, barley, beans, etc., growing in luxuriance. 


Merowe — Ahu Hamcd. 

Old Meuowe to Abu Hamed, by the Eight Uaxk of the Nile. 
{Majm- Hon. M. G. Talhot, R.K, October, 1897.) 

General Notes. 

(i.) The grazing for camels is moderate. 

(iL) The places where water can be obtained depend on the time of the year. The bod of the river is the 
only source of supply. 

(iiL) No consiilerable elevation is crossed anywiiere. Probably the road is never more than 100 to 150 feet 
above liigh Nile level. 

(iv.) Telegraph line follows road where not otherwise mentioned, 
(v.) No supplies obtainable on right bank. 

Names of Places. 

Distance in miles. 






Old Merowe 
J. Barkal 




Abn Haraz 

HobIi El Oenif , 










Two miles inland. Ancient ruined pyramids at base. Desert road from Dongola joins 
river here. 

Telegraph line crosses from left to right bank here. 

Small fort. 

On leaving Kasinjar fort the road curves round with the river, but gradually recedes 
from it. After 2 miles of good firm sand, with thin thorny scrub, the road turns 
away from the river to the north-east, passing to the right of Jebel Wad El Duga, 
beyond which it turns N.N.E., over undulating, stony ground, draining to right. The 
going is good to 1 1 miles. At about 13 miles roatl passes into a shallow basin draining 
east, from which it emerges at 14J miles, and begins to descend to river by a bad path 
down and across small khors. Keaches river at Meshra El Abiad, a good watering 
place, at IDJ miles. From 11 to 14i miles the road, though generally good, is less so 
than before, and passes over bits of stony ground, which would be very troublesome at 
night or even for a considerable body marching by day. From Meshra El Abiad road 
runs along river bank ; good going for camels, and some grass and thorn grazing. A 
few huts at Amrao, where there is plenty of room to camp and some shade. 

There is also a road by the river, which was used by General Hunter's column. It is 
said to be bad and to take baggage camels .5 hours. 

Desert road leaves river at once and follows telegraph wire for 3J miles, when latter 
strikes off to right to river, and continues along it to Abu Haraz. To 3| miles road is 
good, in flat khor, few bushes on left, and gigantic boulders on right. Keeps on 
straight to 8 miles, crossing plain strewn with scattered ridges of granite boulders, and 
then turns slightly to i-ight down to river at Abu Haraz, 9 miles, where there are a few 
ruined mud houses, and a clump of p<alms at 9| miles, with camp and shade for a 
battalion. No water along road. 

For i\ miles road winds in and out of low slaty and granitic ridges, with strip of good sand 
between, keeping generally near the river. It then leaves the river near Khor Abu 
Herejil and strikes across low slatey ridges to about 7^ miles, when it again strikes an 
arm of the river, dry at this season, along which it keeps for 1 mile, and then across 
broad, low open plateau to Hosh El Geruf. Like all the names in this part, Hosli 
El Genif is applied to a strip along the river, rather than to any one spot or village. 
Tlie 8p<jt referred to here is a clump of palms, at the foot of a low hill, near a little 

Road generally bad, quite unsuitable for wheels. It follows river at starting for I mile, 
and then, leaving it, winds up and down khors iind over low rocky ridges almost the 
whole way. From about 8| to 10 miles is the woist bit. Here horses should be led 
in single file, after that road enters sandy plain and is good to 13 miles, when it 
commences to cross low ridges again. At 13| miles the river is seen for the first time 
and the road descends to Salmia, which consists of two or three groves of palms, with 
a field or two of dura and three or four houses of Monasir. Eoom to camp three or 
four battalions, with a little shade. 

Merowe — Abu Bamed. 


Names of Places. 

Distance in miles. 






Dakhfili, south end 



El Gab, ■viA Um Duema 19 


KhiiUa, north end direct 16 


Ab Tin, by river road ... 20 1 30 

Abu Hamed 



Boad leaves river at once, and for Ij miles crosses stony ground strewn with boulders. 
It then gets on to sandy and more open ground, and is good to 3 miles when it drops 
down to valley of river by a bad path. Then very good sand to 4 miles, where it 
strikes river bank at Kamasab, just opposite Jebel Us. From here road is bad 
nearly to 6 miles, when a strip of good going takes it as far as Shukoka, 9 miles, 
where there is a little cultivation on the bank of the river and on a backwater. 
Southern end of Dakhfili is reached at 12^ miles, road being partly along river and 
never very far from it, and passing several small groups of huts. Dakhfili is a large 
camping ground f mile long, opposite Shirri Island. It has a few palms and some 
large sunt trees. No cultivation to speak of. 

There is another route to Dakhfili from Hosh El Geruf, which leaves the river at much 
the same place, and keeps straight across the desert to Dakhfili. It was much used 
by convoys, even at night, and is undoubtedy much better going than the Salmia 
route, and probably a couple of miles shorter, but there is no water along it. 

At the north-east end of Dakhfili, road leaves the river, and after 1 mile over heavy 
sand and sand-covered rock, emerges into the open Khor Haweili, 500 to 600 yards 
wide, and bounded by low sand-covered slope?. (From this point a track leads to the 
river and round by it to Um Duema, distance 14 to 15 miles, bad going.) Road 
continues up khor to 7 miles over sand and gravel, generally very good for camels, but 
a little soft for men and horses. Room to march in any formation. (From here 
desert road continues almost straight on to El Gab, 17 miles, mostly good going, but 
some heavy sand for the last 3 or 4 miles.) At 7J miles the Um Duema road strikes 
off to right by an easy but unfrequented path over low hills jiartly covered with sand, 
and descends by a baddish path between Ab Rumeila and Hebi at 11 miles. Road 
continues easy but narrow along the bank, ])assing Hebi, 12 miles, where there are a 
few houses, with some palms and a little cultivation, and Um Duema at 13 miles, 
which is similar to Hebi. At 14 miles, road enters sand which lasts to El Gab. It is 
heavy in places and bad for men and horses. El Gab is an ancient ruined post on a 
low rock overlooking the river. There is a small patch of cultivation and a few 
palms. Plenty of room to camp. 

Sand continues heavy to 2J miles, where direct road by desert leaves river and strikes it 
again at about 10 miles. (I did not follow this, but believe it is fairly good going.) 
It is possible to march along the river bank, a little longer, but the sand is 

Khulla is a strip of the bank some 4 miles long ; no houses nor cultivation, only a few 
shepherds' huts ; many sunt trees and dom palms. Much room to camp and plenty of 
shade. The sand is piled with hillocks along the bank, and the road runs on lower 
ground from 100 to 600 yards from river. Northern boundary of Khulla is Klior 
Hamadein. This was the furthest point attained by the River Column, 1885. 

After crossing Khor Hamadein, road keeps due east for about 4 miles and passes 
through Gemmeiza, a district similar to Khulla, but not so well wooded. Low gravelly 
hills approach on right bank, and at several points tracks branch off to the left 
forming short cuts over these hills towaids Ab Tin. (I did not travel by any of 
these, but I understand they are easy going.) The telegraph line follows one of 
these. At 4 miles road turns north by baddish track, heavy and stony, following 
river bank, and passes small village of Tibna at 6 miles. Fair but heavyish going to 

10 miles, where short cuts from Khulla and telegraph line join in. Bad going to 

11 miles over low, rocky ridges covered with sand ; then excellent going to Ginefab, 
14 miles. Then ^ mile of bad going, and 5 miles good going to Shellal Gurgurib over 
open ground with many sunt trees ; f mile moi'e of good going to Ab Tin at 20 miles. 
This, though quite a small place, is the largest village that has been passed. It has a 
small area of cultivation and some palms. 

Road good and open, though heavy in places, for 5 miles, till it strikes railway ; then 
heavy sand with small hillocks and many dom palms and other trees to 9 miles, where 
road and river turn south and track gets harder. The railway station is about 1 mile 
north of Abu Hamed village. Residence of Mamur and headquarters of the district. 

Abu Hamed used to be chiefly notable as being the point of arrival and departure of the various caravan routes Abu Hamed. 
which traverse the Korosko Desert, and takes its name from a highly venerated sheikh, whose tomb is here situated. 


44 -Abii itavied — I^arioum^ 

The merchants were in the habit of depositing here any articles with which they did not wish to encumber themselves 
during their journey through the desert, and the environs of the tomb used to be surrounded by every sort of superfluous 
impedimenta, left by their owners to await their return, with no other protection than that afforded by the sanctity of 
the defunct sheikh. 

Considerable plantations of acacias and doms are found in the neighbourhood of the village, wliich is also remark- 
able for the numerous *' dunes " or sand hills collected by the winds from the surrounding desert. 

It is a small village, utterly destitute of suppUes. The sterile desert extends to the very margin of the Nile. Altitude 
1,()40 feet above sea level. Desert perfectly flat. Deep sand. Major-Genera] Hunter attacked and took the place 
from the Dervishes on the 7th August, 1897. (Vide p. 254.) The railway reached this point from Wadi Haifa on 
3l8t October, 1897. It is now a watering station for trains, with modern bathrooms for tourists, etc. It is the 
residence of the Mamur and inspector of the Monasir and Robatab Districts. It is also proposed as the junction ol 
a branch line to Merowe. 

Sub-Section (b). — Abu Hamed to Khartoum. 

Little has been recorded of the actual navigation of the river and the description of its banks between Abu Hamed 
and Khartoum, and especially of the stretch between Abu Hamed and Berber. 

Between these two latter places the desert is broken by numerous ravines and studded with acacias and " dom " 

palms ; the river channel is full of reefs and rapids, and navigation is at all times difficult and somewhat dangerous ; 

cultivation only exists in scanty patches, and the inhabitants are poor and few in number. The inhabitants and 

cultivation are, however, increasing on both banks. 

Mograt A couple of miles above Abu Hamed is the Mograt Rapid, consisting of a few miles of bad passages (at low Nile). 

Rapid. After clearing the Mograt Rapid, the navigation of the river is unimpeded for about 32 miles, until Mero Island, opposite 

Abu Hashim, is reached. 
Bacara As an obstacle to navigation the Abu Hashim Rapid is unimportant, and from the Mograt Rapid there exists 

Rapid. j^ reach of about 50 miles of practically open water to the rapid of Bagara. 

The Nile here takes a bend to the west, and for the space of 2 or 3 miles the bed of the river is filled with masses of 
black rocks, in some places forming dams, over which the river roars in its swift descent (December). This rapid is 
passable at high Nile, but impracticable at low or even mean Nile. 

The cataract of Bagara is not long, but during low or even medium water it is rather rapid. 

The banks of the river present no features of interest, and the country on the eastern shore is an almost 
uninhabited desert, the usual " doms," which fringe the shore being the only vegetation to be seen, with here 
and there a scanty patch of cultivation ; but, as the Bagara Rapid is approached, an improvement takes place on the 
western shore. 
5tli Catoract. The 5th Cataract, or Shellal el Homar, 24 miles from El Bagara, is a system of tortuous rapids running through 

irregular dangerous rocks. It is formed by a ridge of black rocks, broken up into islands, of which the main one is 
termed Draka. Here there are really two distinct cataracts — one to the north, which has two rather dangerous and 
difficult passages, in consequence of the banks being covered with brushwood rocks and mimosa trees, wliich prevent 
the tow rope being employed ; the other to the south, called Shellal el Homar. These cataracts, like those that precede 
them, are dangerous and impracticable during low water. 

They were successfully surmounted by the gunboats of the Nile Expedition in September, 1897 (high Nile). 

From the 5th Cataract, where the Dar Robatab is quitted and the Dar Berber commences, a path exists on both 
banks for 30 miles to the town of Berber. About half-way the nature of the soil changes from the primitive 
desert to sandstone, and ranges of hills formed of the latter begin to show themselves on both banks, but more 
prominently on the western shore, where, opposite El Hasa, the edge of a stony plateau, about 100 feet high, 
known as Jebel Nakam, advances to within 2(X) yards of the water's edge ; thence the road follows the western 
shore at a distance of about | of a mile, the intervening land being well cultivated and acacias and " dom " palms 
fairly abundant. 

On the right bank, although a fringe of acacias borders the Nile, cultivation is almost entirely absent except in 
the immediate neighbourhood of the villages, which are met at frequent intervals ; and the country, after entering 
the sandstone formation, consists of nothing but one vast desert plain extending as far as the eye can reach. 

In view of the railway running the whole way along the river bank from Abu Hamed to Khartoum the description 
of the itineraries along the banks is omitted. The reader who desires such is referred to N.O. (pp. 63-70). 
Berber. Berber, 131 miles from Abu Hamed (for description, vide Chap. Ill, p. 85). 

Between Berber and the Atbara (20 miles) the cultivation improves, and a fairly broad band runs parallel to the 
east bank of the river ; the inhabitants in this reach are fairly numerous. 

Ahu Hamed — Khartoum. 


The current here runs at the rate of from 2 to ^ miles per hour ; but above it, where the river increases in width, 
a proportional decrease in the rate of the stream takes place, and it does not exceed 2 miles. 

The Atbara River, at its point of junction with the Nile, has a deep, well-defined section, and a bed- width of some Athara 
400 yards ; the banks are steep and high. Although the channel is dry in summer, the flood marks register a height confluence, 
of 25 feet above the bed. The velocity of the Atbara current in flood is so great that it forces the water of the Nile 
across on to the western bank. The sandbank thus formed causes considerable difficulty to navigation, and in the 
early spring of 1898 caused the division of the fleet of gunboats into two isolated halves, neither of which could have 
moved if required to the assistance of the other. 

South of the junction lies the town of El Damer, formerly celebrated for its learning and university. It is now El Damer. 
again a town of growing importance, and is to supersede Berber as the headquarters of the Province. Railway bridge 
over the Atbara here. The Nile-Red Sea Railway branches oil up the right bank of the Atbara, north of the bridge. 

From the Atbara to Khartoum the distance, by water, is about 200 miles. On this reach the slope of the river 
is separated by the Shabluka Cataract into three portions. This cataract begins at some 35 miles from Khartoum, 
and continues as far as Wad Habashi, 55 miles further north. 

The average bed-slopes are : — 

From Khartoum to head of Cataract 
Cataract and Rapids . . 
From Wad Habashi to Atbara 

1 _ 

5 5"T)0 
Ta 500 

Between the Atbara and Shendi (86 miles) there is little variety in the river scenery.* The average height of the 
banks over the river is from 25-28 feet ; the channel is broad and interspersed \vith many sandbanks and islands. 
The eastern bank is flat, and covered with a thick growth of scrub and thorn bushes ; the soil is good, but the halfa 
grass, owing to years of neglect, has got such a hold that very considerable labour is necessary in order to remove 
it and render the land fit for cultivation. The western bank is lower, and the strip of cultivable land much narrower 
than on the eastern shore. In places, ravines or " khors " run back from the river, and these in flood must be full 
of water. The whole tract has a most desolate appearance ; villages are few and poor ; inhabitants and cattle are 
wanting, although a few small flocks of sheep and goats are occasionally met with ; here and there a sagia is at work ; 
but the cultivation is confined chiefly to the foreshore of the river and to the islands. At certain points low ranges of 
hills, such as Jebel Egerdan and Jebel Umali approach the river on either side. Fuel is fairly plentiful, and everywhere 
the thorn jungle has encroached and swallowed up the areas which were once under cultivation. The depopulation 
of this district must date from a period anterior to the Dervish rule. Sir Samuel Baker, on visiting the country in 
1869, noted the deterioration and desolation which had ensued since his visit of a few years previous. He attributed 
this ruin to the misgovernment of the Turkish Governor-General. 

The " Pyramids of Meroe " are passed about the 17th parallel ; they lie close to villages named Maruga and Sur. 
The district here between the Atbara and the Nile was in ancient times termed the " Island " of Meroe. [See 
Chap. IV and Appendix D.) 

Shendi, 86 miles from Atbara mouth, situated on the right bank of the river and on rocky ground, which extends Shendi. 
for half a mile above and below the town, was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Meroe, and is said to have 
been the residence of the famous Queen of Sheba. Ismail Pasha, son of Mohammed Ali, was here burnt in his hut by 
the Jaalin in 1822, in revenge for his barbarities. The town and inhabitants were destroyed in 1823 by Mohammed 
Ali. It is now reviving considerably, and is the headquarters of the Cavalry in the Sudan ; it owes its selection chiefly 
to the fine grazing, the gravel soil, and the level country around it. 

Four miles beyond Shendi, on the left bank, lies Metemma, the terminus of the trans-Bayuda route from Korti Metemma. 
(vide Vol. II), used by the Desert Column in 1885. The town was not assaulted or taken by our troops on that occasion, 
but was the object of a reconnaissance in force, 21st January, 1885 ; it lay dormant until 1897, when it became the 
headquarters of a projected rising against the Dervishes by the Jaalin tribe. Mahmud, however, was warned in time, 
and exterminated the conspirators and all their belongings. Over 2,000 Jaalin were killed and the town was destroyed. 
It is still a deserted ruin, lying over a mile from the river, but is easily recognisable by the solitary grove of date palms 
which stands out as a landmark in the flat and treeless plain. Here the western desert approaches the water's edge, 
but a httle cultivation is carried on upon the foreshore and the large island in front of the town. The remains of five 
Dervish earthworks still exist upon the bank up-stream of the town, and another (masked) upon the island. One- 
and a half miles up-stream lies the former village of Gubat, the furthest point reached by the Desert Column in 1885. 

Between Metemma and Wad Habashi the whole country appears to be deserted, and there is a complete absence 
of hfe. At one point a series of honey-combed cliffs approaches the river, and runs parallel with it for some 5 miles. 

Wad Habashi (left bank), 42 miles from Shendi, was the starting point of the 1898 Omdurman Expedition. The 

* A broad road or clearing has been made along both banks from Shendi to Berber. This is to be extended to Abu Hamed. 

H 2 




Abu Hamed — Khartmim. 



soil here is excellent, and the land must once have been cultivated, as traces of the old water-courses are still visible. 
It is now covered with a dense growth of acacia jungle and halfa grass, which stretches in a thick belt for some 2 miles 
from the Nile. 

About J mile inland a large and deep canal runs parallel to the river. This whole tract is entirely deserted, and, 
from its appearance, it seems probable that it was thrown out of cultivation prior to the rebellion of 1884. Four miles 
south of Wad Habashi is the boundary between the provinces of Berber and Khartoum, the limits being marked by 
the isolated granite hill on the east bank, known by the name of " Hagar El Asal." From this point, the reefs forming 
the tail of the Shabluka Cataract begin, and navigation at low water becomes impossible for steamers.* Although Sixth 
the actual cataract, or rapid, is only some 12 miles in length, the bad water, above and below the pass, extends for a ^'^itaract. 
length of some 55 miles, i.e., to Wad Ramla, or to within 35 miles of Khartoum. 

In summer, i.e., if the railway is not used, thi& portion of the journey has either to be made in native boats, or by 
camel portage round the cataract. The land route is shorter than that by the river, being not more than 26 miles in 

Five miles above Wad Habashi the former cavalry station of Wad Hamed is passed on the west bank. This place 
was selected as the headquarters of the Egyptian cavalry on account of the good fodder to be foxmd in the vicinity. 
From here the difficulties of navigation increase ; the river is split into numerous channels, and winds between picturesque 
islands, covered with a luxuriant growth of vegetation. Rocks and reefs appear above the water, and the swirls and 
eddies indicate the existence of many more below the surface. It was in this part of the rapid, on Memat Island, 
that the " Bordein " steamer went aground on returning from Khartoum in 1885. Low serrated granite ridges confine 
the river on either side. 

At the entrance of the Shabluka gorge, the channel takes a very sharp turn to the east, and the section is both deep 
and narrow — not being more than 200 yards in width anywhere, and in some places even less than this. The river runs 
between high granite hills for some 4 or 5 miles, with a very high velocity. The marks upon the rocks show that the 
highest flood level is not more than 7 feet above the water level of the river in March. 

The northern entrance to the pass was guarded by five Dervish forts, now in ruins ; four on the western and one on 
the eastern bank. These completely command the channel. On emerging from this gorge the river widens out, and the 
difficulties of navigation recommence. Reefs, rocks, and islands appear in all directions ; the solitary peaks of Jebel 
Royan and Jebel Tyem stand out, one on either bank. At some 20 miles up-stream of the pass Wad Ramla is reached ; 
from this point to Khartoum navigation, with care, is possible for steamers, even at lowest Nile. The country on both 
sides becomes more open, and many large islands are passed, most of which, notably that of Tamaniat, bear fine crops 
of dura. Large quantities of hay are also grown upon these islands and transported to Omdurman. The land on the 
east bank is good, and the cultivable strip extends for a considerable width, though covered as usual with scrub and 
rank grass. On the west bank the desert approaches the river closely. 

Omdurman, Khartoum North, and Khartoum. 

At 198 miles from the Atbara, the town of Omdurman is reached — the long low ridge of the Kereri Omdunnan. 
hills to the north marking the scene of the battle in 1898. This town covers a large area, being some 5J miles in 
length by 1 to \\ miles in breadth. Its eastern frontage follows the river bank throughout. Two or three broad 
streets traverse it, but, with these exceptions, the houses are separated one from another by a network of twisting lanes. 
Some of the principal remaining Dervish houses, notably those of the Khalifa and Yagub, are spacious and well built. 
Ebony is much used in the roofs, and where the span is great, iron girders are inserted to support the roofing. 

The " Beit El Amana," or Dervish storehouse, covers a large area. Here are the old powder magazines and stores 
of a most miscellaneous description. The open-air mosque is simply a large inclosure, and within the " Sur," or great 
wall, is packed a rabbit-warren of buildings, with narrow and winding streets. The entire town was, during the 
Dervish occupation, full of old cess-pits ; these being merely deep holes sunk in the desert, and open to the air. These 
pits were probably largely responsible for the disease for which Omdurman attained such an evil reputation (Cerebro- 
spinal meningitis), but which has now practically disappeared. The Mahdi's tomb and Khalifa's house, the latter 
still in good repair, are objects of interest for the tourist {vvh pp. 266 and 252 respectively). 

The town lies in a direct line 3 miles from Khartoum — but by water another mile, some 40 minutes by steamer. Very 
many of the houses are now deserted, but the population still numbers some 46,000. It lies on good gravel 
soil, and comprises, besides the old Dervish buildings above-mentioned, barracks for the garrison, which consists 
of 2 battalions infantry and 2 maxims. There is a large market (Suk), where a considerable trade in gum and other 
produce is carried on. On the sloping banks a large boat traffic is at work. Steamers and ferry boats connect the 

♦ For further details of this cataract see N.O. (1st edition, pp. 74-80 ; 2nd edition, pp. 78-83). 

Bif kind periHUsian of] 

[W. Orooke, Edinhvrgh. 


Oovernor-General and Sirdar, 

Khartoum. 49 

town with Khartoum It is the residence of the sub-Governor of Khartoum Province who resides in a house built 
in the late Khalifa's enclosure. 

Khartoum North (lately Halfaya) is the terminus of the railway from Haifa, and lies opposite to Khartoum, Khartoum 
on the right bank of the Blue Nile. It includes storehouses, workshops, the headquarters and the dockyard of the '^?J'^|f, 
Steamers and Boats Department, barracks for an Egyptian garrison, consisting of infantry and artillery. Custom-house, ' 
etc., etc. Population about 2,000. A steam chain ferry, running every half-hour, connects it with Khartoum. 

Khartoum, including the towns of Khartoum North (late Halfaya) and Omdurman, together with a little Khartnuni. 
hinterland {vide App. G.), forms a Province by itself. It is once again the capital of the Sudan and the seat of Principal 
Government, though Omdurman still is, and Khartoum North will probably become in a few years, the principal trade *'"^"-''- 

Khartoum (meaning elephant's trunk — with reference to the point of land jutting out between the two Niles) is 
a rapidly growing town, on the left bank of the Blue Nile, just before it joins the White Nile, and is built on the site 
of the old town of the same name, which was so gallantly held by Gordon and destroyed by the Dervishes in 1885. Its 
population is now 8,500 souls, and is gradually increasing. The soil is alluvial ; bank of Blue Nile about 30 feet 
above the river at low Nile. In 1898 the old town was found entirely deserted and in ruins. 

The main buildings are the Palace (built in 1899), the seat of the Governor-General ; the Government Buildings 
(including the local War Office and the Offices of the Sudan Government) ; the Nuzl or Government store, the Post and 
Telegraph buildings, the Mosque, the Department of Works, the Mudiria (Governor's office), branches of the 
National Bank and the Bank of Egypt, the Gordon College, the British barracks (holding one battalion of British 
troops), houses of the chief officials, and a small town of well-built mud-brick and stone houses (including a 
market square, landing place, a good European hotel, club, brick kilns, Zoological Gardens, etc., etc.), which is 
daily increasing in size. 

At intervals along the line of the old entrenchments from east to west are the barracks occupied by the Egyptian Barracks. 
Army which are named after Ismail, Tewfik, and Abbas Pashas. 

Outside these lines are villages of mud-built and grass-roofed houses of various Sudanese tribes, whose 
members are employed mostly in building and in other pursuits. {Vide also Chap. V.) 

Higher up the Blue Nile at Buri are the Gordon College and British barracks. 

The town is symmetrically laid out with wide avenues planted with shady trees, and the class of buildings erected Town, etc 
must be in strict conformity with the standard fixed for each particular quarter. 

The public gardens and " Zoo " are situated at the west end of the town ; these, especially the latter, have only 
as yet reached an embryo stage. 

The normal garrison of Khartoum consists of one battalion of British Infantry, relieved annually in October, Garrison, 
and three battahons of Infantry of the Egyptian Army, as well as Cavalry and Artillery. {Vide p. 3.) 

The market at Khartoum is poor and more expensive than that at Omdurman, which is much larger and better. Market. 
Meat is usually PT.3 per oke (2J lbs.) and dura varies from PT.25 to PT.90 per ardeb (300 lbs.) according to the season 
and the year. 

Building and fire- wood have to be brought long distances from up the Blue and White Niles, and are consequently 
both expensive. 

Labour is scarce and difficult to obtain owing to the many buildings, etc., at present under construction. 

The rainfall is very variable but that of an average year is very slight ;* rain seldom falls on more than 10 to Kainfall. 
15 days in the year, but when it does it is generally in heavy thunderstorms, which occur at intervals from June 
to October, and are usually preceded by duststorms, very similar to those at Kassala. In some years heavy storms 
occur as early as May. 

The climate is comparatively good all the year round, though in August, September, and October, and occasionally Climate. 
at other seasons, a certain amount of fever is prevalent. | Khartoum is 1,253 feet above the Mediterranean. 

The hottest month, according to the monthly average maximum temperatures recorded for 1901, is April (110-66° 
Fahr.), and the coolest January (88-34° Fahr.). April, May and June are here, as elsewhere, as a rule, throughout 
the Sudan, usually the three hottest months of the year. Vide also p. 12. 

The highest temperature recorded in 1901 was in July (116-6° Fahr.), and the lowest (518°) in December 

The -wind blows from the north almost continuously from November to April, after which it varies considerably, 
and finally settles down in May or June to blow pretty consistently from the south until the end of October or beginning 
of November. 

* The rainfall in 1903 wa.s 67-9 mm. or 2-7 inches, of which 24-1 mm. fell in May and the remainder in July, August, and 
September. In 1904 the rainfall amounted to 21-4 mm. or about J of an inch. Vide also p. 12. 

t The steps taken to exterminate mosquitoes here have proved so effectual that they are now practically extinct. The few stray 
ones imported by the steamers from the Upper Nile are soon marked down and their larvae destroyed. For methods of destruction 
vide " Report of Wellcome Research Laboiatories — Gordon College — 1904." 



Potts and 

Ferries, etc 

There is a bi-weekly mail to and from the north, weekly to and from El Obeid, Wad Medani, Goz Abu Guma, and 
intermediate stations on the White Nile, fortnightly to Kodok, and monthly to stations on the Upper Nile and Bahr 

Telegraphic communication with the following and intermediate stations : Cairo, Dongola, Merowe, Suakin, 
Massaua vui Kassala, Gedaref, Gallabat, Roseires, Renk, Kodok, Taufikia and El Obeid. Telegrams to Addis 
Abbaba can be sent cid Kassala and Asmara. Vide also p. 219. 

A Government ferry keeps up communication with Omdurman, and a steamer runs twice daily to and from Omdur- 
man and Khartoum North, calling at Khartoum. There is also, as before mentioned, a steam ferry from Khartoum 
to Khart-oum North and several of the native boat ferries. 

The suburbs of these three towns include an additional population of 11,000 souls. 

Recapitulatory table of distances by river in section : — 

Mcrowc to Khartoum. 


From Merowe. 






Foot of 4tli Cataract 










Abu Hanied ... 





El Bagara Rapid 





Foot of 6tli Catai act 





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Section' 4. — Lake No to Gondokoro. 




Bahr El.Tebel... 
Ex block* No. 1 

Discharge (14.4.00) | 
21895 cm. per sec. 

Ex block No. 3 

„ 4 ... 

„ 5 ... 

„ 6 ... 

„ 10 

block No. 11 ... 


„ 12 ... 


„ 13 ... 


„ 14 ... 



For description of Lake No, see page 105. For the Sudd, see Appendix B. 

For detiiiled description and maps of the Bahr El Jebel between Lake No and Gondokoro, see 
Sir W. Garstin's Report (Blue Book, Egypt, No. 2, 1901, price 'As. dd.), from which much of 
the following is taken ; also see his Report of 1904 (price 17s.). 

The entrance to the Bahr El Jebel is about 150 yards broad at the extreme east end of Lake 
No. The channel, turning suddenly to the south, is bounded on either side by a dense 
perpendicular growth of rich green papyrus swamp, in whicli ambach trees, and um suf and 
convolvulus occasionally appear. The papyrus reaches from 10 feet to 15 feet above the 
surface of the water (Jan.). As the steamer proceeds in its winding course, the channel 
varies from 70 to 100 yards, whilst tlie breadth of the pajjyrus strip varies from a few 
hundred yards to several miles. The solid ground (at its best only a few feet above the level 
of the water) on the far side of the papyrus gradually recedes, and the trees in the distance 
become moie and more sfKirse, till at last they vanish altogether. Except in occasional 
instances, no dry land is to be seen thioughout these swamps. Their extent is unknown, 
but, raoi-e especially to the west of the river, it must be enormous. In all probability the 
gi'eater portion of the region lying between the Bahr El Jebel and Bahr El Ghazal and its 
tributaries is, in the rainy season, a vast marsh. To the east their area is more limited, as 
the country beyond the Bahr El Zeraf gradually rises into alluvial plains, covered with 
dense grass, and intersected by numerous swamp lines. These plains, as a whole, are above 
the level of the Nile when in flood. In the long island, lying within the loop formed by the 
Banr El Zeraf with the main stream, there undoubtedly exists a ridge of ccjmparatively high 
land. Upon this a Nuer population has settled. Except by occasional glimpses of trees, 
and, more rarely, of a village, it is impossible to trace this ridge. Its limits are unde- 
termineil. It is surrounded on every side by a belt of almost impassable The only 
evidence of human beings are the grass fires on the horizon, and, except for an occasional 
elephant, buck, or girafl'e, visible in the far distance from the top of the steamer, and a few 
water-birds, bee-eaters, wagtails, &c., animal life appears to have suddenly become extinct. 
At sunset, hfJwever, thousands of insects make their appearance, but, with the exception of 
the mosquito, who is always en evidence to a greater or lesser extent (worst from April to 
November (during the rains) and least from December to March — dry season — grass tires), 
they vanish after an hour or two. 

The water of the Bahr El Jebel is dark-coloured, but contains little or no sediment. The 
depth of the main channel varies from 20 to 24 feet at low Nile. As far as mile 40, the 
ridge lying between the Zeraf and the Jebel is visible on the eastern bank, at a distance 
varying from 500 to 3,000 yards. Trees and a few palms appear to indicate the presence of 
villages. From this jjoint the ridge disappears and the swamps stretch to the horizon upon 
both sides of the river. The first four of the sudd blocks, cleared by Major Peake's party, 
occurred within this distance. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth blocks were met witli 
between miles 50 and 63. Upstream of mile 63, the character of the marsli changes. 
North of this point comparatively few open lagoons are to be seen, but from here, until 
Hellet-el-Nuer (mile 139) is reached, these shallow lakes border the Bahr El Jebel in 
continuous lines. Some of them are of considerable area, as a reference to the map will 
show. They form nurseries for the growth oi water plants, and are the chief cause of the 
blocks whicli form in the channel. Their depth larely exceeds 3 feet. As the river is ascended, 
these lagoons increase in number and size. The channel often passes between two of these 
lakes, only separated from them by a belt of papyrus. In winter Jagoojis are open 
8i)aces of water, but, with the advent of the rainy season (in the month of April), their 
surfaces Vjecome covered with detached masses of floating vegetation. Many of them are 
connected by a series of o])enings with the river, and their water level rises and falls with 
that of the latter. The loss of water, by evaporation, upon these shallow ponds, must be 
extremely great. It is difficult to say whether these lagoons are old courses of the Bahr El 
Jebel and long since filled up, or whether they are traces of the vast lake which, it is 
imagined, once covered this area. The latter supposition appears to be the more probal)le, 
as the channel of the river is so deep and so sharply defined that it appears hardly possible 
that it should have utterly disajipeared. On the other hand, there is at least one instance 
where the river is actually in process of vanishing, i.e., between miles 143 and 165. In this 
reach the channel is filled with decomposed sudd to such an extent that it is difficult to trace 

7.*., where the block formerly existed. 


Lake No — Bor. 




Di=Kharge (1.4.01) 
362 cm. per sec 


2 deleib palin.s. (W.) 

3 lieleib palms. (E.) 


Captain Gage's channel 

North end* of false and 
true channels and 
block 15 

Series of lakes., 











it. It is reasonable to suppose that, unless cleared, it will, in course of time, disappear and 
be transformed into a series of " mayas " or lagoons. These "mayas" are constantly 
changing their shape. New channels burst into the river and others fill up and disappear. 

The average level of the marshes, in March and April, 1901, was from 7 inches to 1 foot above 
the river water surface. Between mile 65 and Hellet-el-Nuer, tlie width of the river is 
very variable ; in many places it is only 60 yards and in others as much as 150 yards. The 
general average may lie taken iis fi'om 75 to 80 yards, and the mean velocity of the stream 
at 2 miles an hour, at low water. The depth ranges from 15 to 22 feet, but in places is as 
much as 28 feet. The sndd blocks 9 to 14 were met with between miles 65 and 82. At 
block 14, what may be termed the first series of sudd obstruction ended, and with its 
removal, in April, 1900, through navigation between Khartoum and Gondokoro was 
restored. The worst place in the river, in the way of giving trouble, was block No. 10, at 
mile 67. 

From this point land approaches the river on both banks, that to the east being less 

Trees 5 miles to east. 

At mile 139 from Lake No, Hellet El Nuer (or Aliab Dok) is reached. It is rather a pretty 
landing-place with stretches of short turf ; no huts or inhabitants. The latitude at this 
place is 8' 4' 36" North, and at this point the high land touches the west bank of the Jebel 
and stretches in a broad ex])anse to the hoiizon. The bank here is 3 feet above the water, 
but the land rises at a short distance from the river. This plain is evidently never swamped, 
even in flood. It is covered with a growth of deleib palms, Euphorbia, and bush. It 
commences at mile 131, and continues along the river as far as mile 144, with swampy 
intervals at the loops. 

At Hellet El Nuer itself, a branch of some size takes ofi" the Bahr El Jebel. This channel is 
not shown upon any existing maps, and was first mentioned by Captain Gage, of the 7th 
Dragoon Guards, in his report upon his journey through the sudd in the winter of 1899- 
ISKX). It has a width of 70 yards, of which 10 yards on either side are filled by the swamp 
gi'assea. Its average depth, at low water, is 3 feet, and its mean velocity is 2 feet per 
second. Its discharge, as measured in March, 19lil, was 2r74 cubic metres per second. 
Captain Gage's channel leaves the Bahr El Jebel at a right angle, but some 500 yards down- 
stream it turns in a north-westerly direction. (Captain Gage followed its course for some 
40 miles, but was then stopped by sudd. It seems not improbable that this channel forms 
a junction between the waters of the Bahr El Jebel and those of the River Naara, which 
discharges into the Bahr El Ghazal, through the Khor Deleib. A few miles down-stream 
its banks are lined by a succession of Nuer villages, and its width increases to 200 yards. 
It must carry a large quantity of water when in flood. At other periods of the year 
(January) it appears to flow into, not out of, tlie Bahr El Jebel. 

Four miles further on the channel widens into a small lake, and from here* the true river is 
blocked V)V sudd for some 20 miles. This is termed block 15, and lepeated eflbrts to clear 
it out (1901-02), owing to the total absence of current, resulted in failure. The expedition 
under Lieutenant Drury, 1903- 04, very nearly succeeded in clearing the whole of the true 
channel. Both Lieutenant Drury ar.d Sir W. Garstin later passed right through this block 
in 1904, the only remaining piece near the southern end of the block being fairly easily 
navigable. The true channel is from 16 to 20 feet deep, whilst the false channel to the 
west is only 4 feet to 6 feet in depth. One of the Dervish steamers, with boats con- 
taining ivory, was sunk in this part of the river, and was discovered by the 1903-04 
expedition. At present navigation of the false channel is attended with considerable 
difficulty, and the services of a com|)etent pilot are indispensable. The river is separated 
into many branches, and these cross and recross one another, forming a bewildering 
labyrinth of islands. At the south end of the small lake before mentioned, channels converge 
from all points of the compass. These are separated by low flats, covered with dense 
growth of papyru9. 

After steaming for some 7 or 8 miles through a wilderness of jjapyrus, a series of lakes is 
reached, at mile 150 from Ijake No. Stiff current here. These lakes have a depth of about 
4 feet at the deejiest point, but shoal rajjidly towards the shore. A feeble but distinct 
current i)asses through them to the north. Their breadth varies largely. Their shores are 
surrounded by high papyrus and their surfaces are dotted by countless small sudd islands. 
There are, however, indications on both sides that the high land is not very far distant. It 
has already been explained that the true channel, which lies to the east of these lakes, is 

At Ihii point wa> the " Box " or " Sanduk," on a pole, erected ai a landmark and for letter*. 

Lake No — Bor. 








o a> 




South end of true and 
false channels and of 
block 15 

Land approaches east 
edge of channel 

North channel to Bahr 
EI Zeraf 

Mouth of Yei (?) 
North enfl old false 

Ex block No. 16 

„ 17 

„ „ 18 

South end of block 

No. 18 

Bahr El Zeraf . 










1 ! 166 










said to skirt the dry laud. On the we.9t a line of fair-sized trees at a distance of, perhaps. 
2 miles, shows that the swamps in tliat direction also have a limit. A very noticeable 
feature of these expanses of water is their lifelessness. No birds arn to be seen, and 
hippopotami appear to avoid them altogether. At mile 163 the lakes end, and a fresh 
network of branching streams confront the navigator. Here, again, very careful steering 
and knowledge of the passage to be followed is required. Each year these channels change. 
What is, in one season, the deepest channel, is, perhap.s, tlie next year impassable. For 
some 5 miles the river is split up into many different branches, all winding through papyrus 
swamp. At mile 165 the true channel of the river is reached. The change is startlingly 
sudden, as the depth suddenly increases from 4 to 21 feet. Instead of a twisting stream, 
the Bahr El .Jebel again becomes a fine open river, some SO to 90 yards in width, bounded 
by a high fringe of papyrus on either side. The false channel leaves the river at an angle 
of nearly 90 degrees. In April, 1900, the junction was blocked by sudd, but this was liglit 
and easily removed. Large shallow lagoons extend on either bank, separated from the river 
by a belt of papyrus. The high land to the west ends about a mile from the river, and the 
swamp recommences. To the east a line of palms, perhaps, 6 or 7 miles distant, not 
improbably indicates the banks of the Bahr El Zeraf. Above this point the Bahr El Jebel 
widens out for some distance. In places its breadth is as much as 200 yards, and its depth 
from 15 to 18 feet. The swamps continue as before. At mile 166 the high land approaches 
the river on the east, and runs parallel to it for some 2 miles. It is covered with bush and 
an occasional Euphorbia. At this point a khor joins the Nile on the west bank, bringing in 
a strong stream of water. Two villages (Nuer) are to be seen in the distance ; these are 
probably Favor and Fatooah of the German map (Julius Perthes). The mean velocity now 
averages \\ miles per hour. Between miles 175 and 200 the high land and bush before 
mentioned touches the eastern bank at intervals. At luile 187 there is a break in this 
ridge, and two or three channels leave the Nile to the east. These are said by the natives 
to be the most northerly outlets of the Bahr El Zeraf. In 1900 a fine deleib palm stood on 
the water's edge at this point. This formed a landmark tliat could be seen for miles. It has 
now, unfortunately, fallen into the river. At mile 220, and again at mile 223, channels 
come in fiam the west bringing water to the Jebel. These streams may possibly be the 
mouths of the River Rodi, or Sfei, which is supposed to join the Nile somewhere in this 
locality. At mile 225 the false channel, which, previous to the clearance of blocks 16 to 19, 
was the only navigable line, joins the river. This was the route followed by Major Peake and 
Lieut. Drury in 1900, in making the journej' to the upper Nile. They found the passage 
very difficult. During the transit they bent their rudder twice, and went aground four 
times. From this point numerous channels join the Bahr El Jebel on both sides. Many 
islands, covered with ambach and papyrus, separate the stream into numerous branches, and 
the whole country is once more a waste of swamp. The Bahr El .lebel heie is e-xtremely 
narrow (25 to 30 yards), but is from 18 to 22 feet deep. The fa'se channel in app:;arance 
far more resembles the main river than does the true one. 

It is hard to imagine that this narrow, twisting sti'eam can be the Nile. Its windings are 
worse than ever. A tree or a boat may be visible at a comparatively short distance ahead, 
and yet many miles of channel must be traversed before it is reached. The river here runs 
nearly due west, while the false channel follows an easterly course, jiassing through 
numerous shallow lakes, until it joins the main river again at mile 249. At mile 240 the 
Jebel widens out again, and more resembles a river in appearar.ce than it did. Its average 
breadth is from 50 to 60 yards, and its depth is some 15 feet. Between this point and mile 
248 occurred the four sudd obstructions, removed in February, 1901, by Lieut. Drury, R.N., 
and which were known as blocks Nos. 16, 17, 18, and 19. At mile 249 the Bahr El Zeraf 
takes off from the Nile, following the false channel for some distance, before branching off 
to the east. The width of this river at the head is about 30 yards, and the outlet is 
surrorrnded by a sea of marsh. Just up-stream of this poirrt there is a severe berrd in the 
Nile, which might one day give trouble. As the steamer passes, decomposed sudd rises to 
the surface. 

The general character of the landscape now changes, as land arrd forest ai'e visible to the 
west, and at mile 253 from Lake No, the Shambe lagoon or khor is reached. This is a 
large lake, some 3 to 5 miles in length, and mor-e tharr \\ miles in breadth. Its depth 
averages 4^ feet. The post of Ghaba Shambe is situated in north latitude 7° 6' 30", on the 
west bank of its lagoon, at a distance of 1| miles from the river. The land here is about 
2 feet over the water, but rises as the forest is reachetl. It is a dreary -looking sijot, 
consisting of a mud-brick house inside a rnutl {)arapet, antl a rruzl, and a few " tukls " erected 
on the flat shore of the lake ; garrison of 25 men ; a Dinka village lies not far off. Shambe 


Lake No — Bot. 



Abu Kiik.1 

Kanisa ... 

Lake Powendael 












Vidf alao j«ge 144. 

is now the chief Nile post of tiie Cahr EI Ghazal province, and fiom here proceeds the road 
inland to Rumbek (116 miles), &c. Tlie river winds round the lake for some 8 miles, 
separated from it by a band of maish, about 600 yards broad. Large quantities of 
hippopotami. To the cast the swamp stretches for a long way ; at miles 2.')5 and 256 are 
two other outlets of the Zeraf River. The aspect of the landscape is extremely desolate, 
with papyrus- covered marshes stretching in all directions. The river itself alternates 
between long straight reaches or ensy curves, and a series of sharp twists and bends, which 
form a regular maze through the swamps. The watei' surface is covered with masses of 
detjiohed plants of the PUtia (or sword grass) utratiotes. The mean velocity is 2 miles per 
ho\ir ; the average depth is 15 feet ; and the average width from r>0 to GO yards. l<"or 
many miles the same dreary scenery prevails. The river recedes a long way from the 
western forest, and on both sides an expanse of reeds and water extends. The width of the 
swamped area here cannot be less .30 miles. 

At mile 2!)3 Abu Kuka, north latitude 6° 54', is reached. The papyrus swamp ceases just 
north of this point. Here the forest appioaches the river, and the bank is dry. The thick 
bush comes down to the water edge, the trees being about 1,500 yards away. The village 
of this name is iidand, and is not visible from the livei'. 

At miles 300 and 304, the old and new wooding stations of Kanisa are respectively situated 
on the west bank. Kanisa or "Heiligen Kreuz,'' north latitude 6° 46', is the site of the 
Austrian Mission which was located here for many yeai-s. The church and buildings were 
situated on the eastern bank, only a foot oi- two above the watei', but tlieir traces are no 
longer visible. A large fruit garden formerly existed on the west bank, but only two large 
shady trees are still alive. This Mission was abandoned in 1864 or 186.5, on account of the 
deadly effects of the climate. The only inhabitants now are a few ]>inka. The foiest is 
very thick and consists of Sidr, other acacias, and a few Euphorbia. This forest is continuous 
as far as the banks of the Rohl, some 60 miles to the west. 

Immediately uji-stream of Kanisa, the river wanders away into the swamps as before. From 
this point, to n)ile 343, there is little to describe. Tlie banks on both sides are very flat and 
rarely more than 2 feet above low water level. The papyrus now practically ends. 
Occasional clumps are to be seen, but nowhere in continuous masses. Tamarisk is common. 
The spills from the river into the marshes are very numerous, more particularly on the east 
bank. A line of trees on the eastern horizon, some 7 to 10 miles away, appears to mark the 
limits of the swamp. It is easy to see how the Bahr El Zeraf marshes are formed. At 
every few hundred yards the river s])ills into them. These spill channels are dee])ly cut, 
with vertical sides, as if dug by hand, and the amount of water discharged by them in flood 
must be very great. In size they vary C')nsideiably. Their average breadth is from 3 to 5 
yards, but some are as much as 16 yards wide. Between miles 303 and 379, 129 spills were 
counted, of which 97 were on the east bank. Probably many more escaped observation.* 

At mile 344 the large lagoon, known as Lake Powendael, commences on the west. The river 
circuits this lake for 4 or 5 miles, separated from it by a belt of swamp, vaiying in width 
from a few hundred to 2,000 j'ards. Lake Powendael is in many i)laces as much as 
3,000 yards in breadth, but is very shallow. Its surface is dotted with many small islands, 
and it is connected with the river by several inlets. Hippopotami are abundant in these 
jmrts. Both banks are now very low and flat, about 10 inches over the water. The reach of 
the river between Bor and Kanisa is unendurably desolate and monotonous, wandering 
through continual swamp for some KX) nnlet'. At mile 360 another large lake is met with, 
also on the west. This sheet of water must be quite 4 miles in breadth, and the river winds 
round it for a long distance in a series of very sharp curves. Many natives are to be seen 
fishing here. 

At mile 374 a welcome change appeara, as a limit is at last visible to the eastern swamps, which 
are practically continuous from Lake No to this point. A line of villages (l)inka) stands 
2 miles from the river, and behind them lies the forest. A little further up-stream 
villages approach nearer, until at last, at mile 380 from Lake No^ the high land on the east 
comes down to the river. 

Bor, north latitude 6° 12' 46", is a collection of I inka villages which i-tietch noithwards 
(outside the swamp) almost to the Bahr El Zeraf. The forest here stands back from the 
river on the east bank, but the high bank comes to the water, excei)t where a large 
backwater or lagoi n passes through it for some 2,000 yards. Gordon mentioned this place 
as an inconvenient wooding station, but it is very handy now. A few tall delcib jialms 
stand out as land marks. The houses of Bor are neither large nor important, but like in 
all Dinka villages they are well-kept, neat, and clean. 1'he huts are circular in shape. 
They are plastered with mud and have conical thatched roofs. Each has a small door 

+ I'or fuller de8crii)lion of Bor and its people vide page 144. 

Bor — Gondvkoro. 








1 <o 

s « 







Dervish Deiru ... 

Bor (military post) 

Tree disappeared* 


through which the inmates crawl. The people show no signs of shyness and appear 
comfortable and contented. They pos.sess large herds of c:ittle. At mile 38 i the river 
runs close under the high bank, hugging it for S3m3 distant The land here is from 
6 to 8 feet over the water, and is, of course, never floided. Tiie forest consists of thick 
bush, with a few large trees ; a distinctive feature is the thicket of small deleib palms 
which cover the ground. Not one in 500 of these young palms appears to develop into 
a tree, but they form an extremely dense undergrowth. The Bahr El Jehel is now a fine 
stream, 80 to 90 yards wide, with a strong current. On the west the marshes stretch into 
space. The valley here must be (juite 20 miles across. 
South of Bor, the sudd, properly so-called, disappears. The marshes are formed of a deeper 
layer of sand, covered with a thin surface of clay, and with streaks of clay running through 
them. These swamps, except in the centre of the valley, are, as a rule, well over summer 
water-level, and the loss of water can be as nothing compared with that north of Bor. The 
vegetation, too, is of a different kind, being chiefly grass, and though deme enough, is not 
c )mposed of those reeds which retiuire to have their roots under water for a great portion of 
3n0 the year. At mile 390 the Dervish " Deim " is visible, situated on the east bank. This is the 

62:i place held for so long by the Emir Arabi Dafaalla. The spot is well chosen for defence, as 

the river sweeps round it on two sides. The bank all round has been cleared of bush for a long 
j way. The " Deim " is surrounded by a mud wall forming a rectangle, of which the river 
I forms one side. The inclosure is some 4 )0 yards deep by 700 yards in length. The mud 
bank, fast disappearing, is about 4 feet G inches high, with an outer ditch 3 feet deep by 
4 feet wide. At the comers are small watch towers, and in other places remains of loopholed 
houses. The Bahr El Jebel now, for many miles runs close to the east bank. It winds con- 
tinually, and there are occasional loops of swamp, but as n whole it follows the high land closely. 
398 i Small military ])ost, furnished from Mongalla. Formerly a wood station, now much cut up. 
Large numbers of elephants. This is to be the site of the Headquarters of the new 
Administrative District of Bor. 
In places the bank is perpendicular down to the water's edge, and from C to 8 feet high. 
At such points there is always great erosion. The scenery more resembles that of the Blue 
Nile than the White. The forest close to the river, tlie high banks, the profusion of 
creepers and undergrowth, the boils and eddies of the river along these curves, combine 
to form a picturesque scene, utterly different from that usually met with on the White Nile. 
About 22 miles south of the Deim the Dinka inhabitants are replaced by those of the Bari 
tribe. The difference is at once apparent. The "tukls" are untidy, crowded together, and 
badly built. The people .seem poor and possess few cattle. They live chiefly by fishing ; in 
April the whole population is engaged in preparing the laud for cultivation, if the river 
allows, chiefly on the west bank. At mile 401 the river bifurcates, one channel branching 
off to the west, while the other, and the deeper, follows the eastern bank. These two 
channels reunite at mile 422. The width of the island between them is not very great, 
being rarely more than 800 to 1,000 yards. The west bank is now a flat grass plain, 
marked by swampy depressions. The river must top this in flood, but not to any depth, 
as the marks show that the total rise cannot exceed 4 feet. The west bank is inhabite(l 
by the Aliab tribe, a sort of cross between Baris and Dinkas, but they consider them- 
selves ([uite distinct. The solitary mass known as Jebel Lado is now first visible on the 
south-west horizon. The river above the junction of the two channels averages 80 yards 
in width and 11 feet in depth. The bends and twists are never-ending, and there is hardly 
a straight rea;h in its whole length. The banks are very sandy, as are the fiats which 
show up above the water. Occasional small islands separate the channel into two or more 
I'here is now a decided ridge on either side of the main channel resembling that described in 
the White Nile. East and west of this ridge the level of the fiats is lower, and in the 
depressions lagoons are formed and winding channels wander. The average width of the 
valley here cannot be more than from .5 to 7 miles. On either bank the forest line marks 
the liigh ground. On the narrow ridges above described are located a few groups of Bari 
huts surrounded by fields of dura. The high ground does not average more than 100 to 
200 yards in width. At mile 431 a magnificent tree used to be situated on the eastern 
431 shore. It made a striking landmark, but disappeared in 1902.* The forest rises rapidly 

<i:)Ji from the water, and at its highest point is quite 20 feet above summer level. One-and-a-half 

miles up stream, the river, which has followed the eastern bank for so long, now winds 

• There is a large Oemmeiza tree, sheltering a rest house, with a wooding station, in this neighbourhood, 
it is the original tree. 

Opinions are divided as to whether 
M 2 

Bor — Gondokoro. 








• « 

g » 




Pole west bauk (April, 
1903) to mark 5° 30'. 

Western forest 

Old Anglo - Egyptian 
station of Kiro. 


Kiro (Congo F.S.) 










across in a westerly direction. In thus crossing the swamps, an excellert idea of the 
general section of the valley is obtained. In the centre the flats are, perlpan.s, 2 feet above 
the water ; towards the sides they rise to a lieight of 4 feet and sometimes 4 feet 6 inches. 
The lower portions are marked by a series of lagoons. These marslies are only, however, 
swamped when the river is in flood, and even then not to any great depth, as the total flood 
rise is not more than 4 to 5 feet over summer level. Tlie valley averages 8 to 10 miles in width. 
The forest and thick bush e.xtend to a long distance away from the river. Progress throu>>h 
this forest is only possible by means of the elephant tracks, whicli are very numerous. At 
mile 438 the channel again bifurcates, the two branches reuniting 5 miles up-stream. 
Thei-e are so many island< and so many side cliannels, that it is almost, if not quite, 
impossible to find the whole stream contained in one single channel, and this is the case the 
whole way between Bor and Gondokoro. The river varies immensely in width. In places 
it is from 200 to 300 yards broad, and in others only 80 to 90 yaids. As tlie Bahr E! Jebel 
is ascended the average dejith decreases, and throughout the reacli between Kiro and Lado is 
rarely more than from 6 to 9 feet. At mile 451 the river touches the western forest edge, 
having traversed the marshes. The trees on this side are, as a rule, finer than tliose in the 
eastern forest. The bank, at the water's edge, is from 3 to 4 feet high, but rises rapidly to a 
height of 12 to 16 feet above the water. At mile 456 used to be an Anglo-Egyptian station, 
1901 (west bank), now abandoned. The scenery here is very fine, and luxuriant tropical 
vegetation abounds. Giant Euphorbia are a marked feature of the landscape. The whole 
of the banks and most of the trees are covered with a velvety-looking mass of creepers. 
A blufl^, 10 to 12 feet high, juts out into the stream, but the action of the current is so 
strong that the fiiable soil is being rapidly eaten away. The face of this cliff" is perforated 
by myriads of holes, made by a very beautiful and tiny species of bee-eater. These birds have 
rose-coloured wings with bionze-coloured bodies. They add much to tlie beauty of alovely scene. 

At mile 400 from Lake No, the station of Kiio, the most northerly in the Lado Enclave, 
is situated on the western bank. The latitude of Kiro is apparently between 5" 12' and 
5° 13' north. The erosion caused by the river here is very great, large masses of the 
sheer cliff", which is 15 to 20 feet over the summer water-level, are constantly falling into 
the Nile. It seems probable that unless they take protective measures the Belgians will 
be forced to retire their houses some distance back from the water. Kiro is a picturesque- 
looking ])lace. The huts are well laid out and neatly built. The cantonment is surrounded 
by a brick wall, with places for guns, parapet, and ditch. The Commandant's house is a 
comfortable-looking structure, with a good thatched roof and a deep verandah. The forest 
surrounds the station. The garrison consisted in January, 1903, of some sixty-five men. 
It possessed a small steamer (the "Van Kerckhoven," called after the leader of the 
first Congo Expedition to the Nile, 1889 ; the boat is clumsy and draws 4 feet of 
water ; but having been brought in sections overland from the west coast she is entitled 
to respect), and several steel sailing boats. The negro .soldiers dift'er largely in type from 
the inhabitants of the Nile valley. In figure they are short and squat, and some of them 
are much tattooed. They are recruited from the West Coast, and from the ti ibes in the Congo 
valley generally, and make excellent and very mobile soldiers. Upon an island opposite the 
station vegetables and paw-paw trees are grown. Beyond this there appears to be little 
cultivation. Kiro is extremely unhealthy in the rainy season. In two years the Belgians lost 
9 Europeans and 300 natives from fever. Black-water fever is not uncommon here, and guinea- 
worm is a prevalent complaint. One-and-a-half miles up-stream of Kiro two fair-sized lakes 
are enclosed by tlie western forest. These evidently receive the drainage of tlie high land 
from a considerable distance. On the east bank a khor, passable for small steamers, runs 
north-north-east, rejoining the river just north of Kiro. From here to mile 467 the 
river skirts the western bank. Everywhere severe action is taking place, and many 
trees have fallen into the water. Three miles on another large lake opens out in the forest. 
At one end of it the I^ado mountain forms a background, making an imjjcsing picture. 
At mile 468 another bifurcation occurs. The western branch follows the forest as far as 
Lado, but navigation in summer by this channel is difficult. The eastern branch crosses 
the marshes. There are several connections between the two channels. The I'iver now 
averages from 250 to 300 yards in breadth. At mile 472 the eastern forest is again 
reached. Here there is a good wooding station, as the trees and high land come down close 
to the water's edge. 

Most southerly post on the Nile of Sudan Government (occupied 1901), situated on east bank. 
Garrison two companies. A gimboat is always stationed here, in addition to which there is 
usually a steamer at the disposal of the Commandant for administrative purposes. 

* For further description vide p. 146, 


Birt- — Gondj)l:oro^ 


Sheikh Ijuio's 
eaat bauk 








Al)out 200 tukls. Open grassy, s.audy spot ; fairly healtliy ; 5 to 8 feet above water. 
IMerity of trees and bnsh. Tlie Bari are the inliabitaiits of the district, but are few 
in iiiMaber ; few supplies. Brick houses. Proceeding up-stream, the river divides, the 
niain channel running through swamps, and the east channel skirting the villages of 
Sheikh L;ido, Lowala, and Yemba. The depth is rarely more than 9 feet, though there are 
occasional pools of 12 to 16 feet in depth. Hippopotami \ised to be extremely numerous 
and particularly obtrusive, but seem lately to have disa))peared. A few huts are to be 
seen, chiefly on the eastern shore. Most of these have been recently constructed, as 
many of the Bari have migrated from the west to the east bank of the river, and have 
settled ou Sudan territory. At mile 477 the river again leaves the east bank and 
crosses the swamps. The wiilth of the valley now contracts to some 4 miles. Such 
a labyrinth of streams winds through these gra.ssy flats that, without an experienced pilot, 
navigation would be extremely ditticult, more especially as the dejith of water rapidly 
decreases. As it is, there are so many sand banks that it is difficult to proceed at night. At 
mile 494 the west channel, mentioned .'is branching off at mile 468, rejoins the east branch, 
and half a mile up-stream the station of Lado is reached. At this ))oint, with the exception 
of a moderate- sized inlet some 3 miles down-stream of Lado, the river is confined in one 
single channel. 

Capital of the Lado Enclave, taken on and rebuilt in 1898. Formerly an Egyptian post, 
and atone time head quarters of Emin Pasha. Situated on the bank 10 to 14 feet above 
river. Very well selected position, protected on the north by a broad swift running 
khor and 2 foits, and on the south by an iin]iassable morass ; only land ai)proach from the 
west commanded by a fort. Surrounded on three sides by a rect;ingular jiarapetted 
enclosure, about 400 by 200 yards, one long face being open to the river. Garrison, 
about 15 white olficers and 500 men (1904). Euclo-mre contains about 20 good brick 
straw-tliatched houses, and good tukls for the men. lload leads to Itejaf (broad) and 
theuce loYei, Ibemboand Mbinia. Native track also to Kiro. Good bamboo and some gum 
about Jebel Lado. Forest close by. Few or no supplies. The neighbourhood of 
Lado is a desolate-looking spot, not neaily so picturescpie iis Kiro, but, on the 
other liand, healthier. A flat plain with bushes stretches from the river for about 2 miles. 
From here the forest commence.s, and gradu;illy rise-i to the sp\irs of Jebel Lado, which is 
some 12 miles fr.>m the station. The food for the troops has to be brought from a very long 
distance. In front of Lado is a low island, upon which vegetables, bananas, and castor-oil 
plants are grown. This island is 4 feet over low-water level at the south en<l, and was 
topped by the 190.3 flood. According to the Belgian officers, the flood water cintains but 
litde sediment beyond sand, and this statement is borne out by the deposit on the flats and 
banks. They further state that in flood the colour of the water scarcely ch.inges at all. 
There appears to be no trade whatever, but a good deal of cidtivation. The ivory collected 
here U small. India-rubber is apparently not found within any reasonable distjince of the Nile. 
Owing to the two years' <lrought and one year's flood, the nativt s on thp west bank of the river 
had no supplier. Lado ])Ossessesa fine herd of long-horned cattle for the u^e of the garrison. 
Fever is very |>revalerrt during the rairry months, but does not appear to be of such a deadly 
type as at Kir'o. In Aprd, 1901, the rairrs had already conniieireed. According to M. Kenier, 
the moirth of May in this region is orre of abundant daily rainfall, birt this is not alwajs the 

Proceeding up-stream fronr Lado, the scenery improves. Eleven larrges of irregularly-shaped 
peaks are visible to the east and soirth-east. Most of them are covered with scrub, and 
roui^d the ba-ses the bamboo is said to grow in luxuriance. From the river bank up to these 
ranges extends a broad expairse of reeds arrd grass, bounded by a dark forest line. To the 
west the country rises rapidly irr a series of ridges clothed with forest. The Bahr El .Jebel now 
avei-ages fronr 250 to 300 yards in width, and the depth rairges f rom 6 to 8 feet. Islands and 
side cliannels abound, aird in flood tirire it must be difficult to say which is the main stream. 
The loss of water is comparatively snrall, as the griiss flats are high. Nurrrerous Bari villages 
on the east bank and on the islarrds, but few on the west bank. Further south, range ujjon 
range of hills show up irr the distance, one beyorrd the other-. These are rrot very high, but 
are of striking outlirre and form an agreeable change to the eye, after days j)assed in the 
dreai-y flatness of the .Jebel marshes. The width of the valley is here about 5 miles from 
bank to bank. The Bari villages increase irr number on the east bank as the river is 
ascerrded. Jebel Lado still dominates the western landscape, aird Jebel Rejaf, a pyramidal 
and sjlitary jreak, marks the point where the reefs and rapids begiir. On ai)])roaching 
Gondokoro, rravigatiorr becomes more aird more difficult as the water shoals rapidly, arrd the 
maze of chairnels and islands are perplexing aird intricate ; half a mile from Gondokoro are 
some bad shallows. 

Bur — Gondokoro. 









1 <U 

O (U 






At mile 50-1 from Lake No, the sUitioii of (iomlokoro is reaeliej. Tliiti i)iaL'e, oii tlie bank 
of the Bahr El Jebel, i.s the north frontier post of the Uganda Protectorate. (Tordon gives 
the latitude of Gondokoro as 4° 54' 29" north, and the longitude a.s 31° 4.3' 46" east. The 
altitudes given by different authorities vary so much that they are not worth recording. 
Gondokoro, although a healthy looking station, has a deserted and scattered appearance. 
The buildings, mostly of bamboo and straw with brick houses for the European staff, 
contrast but poorly with those of the Belgians at Lado and Kiro ; the station was occupied 
in 18!)9. The Collector's house, or Residency, is situated about 300 yards to the north of the 
garrison lines, and 130 yards from the river. It is built of burnt bricks, with a high thatched 
roof, on ground IC feet, or more, above the river, and surrounded by a thorn zeriba. Tliii 
and the M.O.'s house are on brick arches from the ground and surrounded by gardens 
and cultivation. The thorn scrub approaches to within 1000 yards of the houses. The 
station is situated on a high cliff, from 18 to 3i) feet iibove the water. , Much of this cliff has 
fallen in, and the foundations of the Austrian Mission Buildings, abandoned in 18.")8, are now 
on the extreme edge of the high bank. A few deleib i>alms and lime trees mark this bluff. 
The station extends over an area of about 1 by \ mile. The new lines are built some 400 yards 
back from the river. The present huts which accommodate the small gariison are circular 
hnts of mud and There is also a police barracks containing about 25 men. The 
remains of Baker's old lines are still existing. He had here a garrison of 1,.')(X) men, 
but ill his time the Bari was a powerful and warlike tribe. Gondokoro «as, moreover, an 
important centre for the slave trade. Baker's old lines consist of three rectangles, one 
within the other. The inner one is about .300 by 400 yards ; the second, 500 by 800 yards ; 
s, perhaps, 1,000 to 1,200 yards square. Each of these rectangles is 
mud bank about 4 feet high, with an outer ditch 4 feet deep by 6 feet 
There used to be plenty of trees, bananas, paw-paws, etc., and the station 

while the outer 
surrounded by a 
broad at the top. 

was, on the whole, a pretty one, but Hoods and white ants have now destroyed many of the 
trees. To the south and north of the station, and also 1| miles to the east, are large marshes, 
which must tend to make the place unhealthy. At times wild elephants come close to 
the lines. Many Bari villages are located on the i iver near Gondokoro. All these are on 
the east side. The Bari appear to be bitter agriculturists than are either the Uinka, 
Nuer, or Shilluk. They cultivate dura, ground nuts, beans, and a little tobacco ; also 
sweet potatoes, and manioc. A small market for local ])roduce has been established, and 
Bari and Luluba keep it fairly well supplied ; time, it is hoped, will bring an increase in 
po])ulation and cultivation. The castor-oil plant grows like a weed in this locality. The 
avei'age maximum flood rise of the river here over summer level is not more than 4 feet. 
In the flood of 1878 it rose to a height of 7'2 feet on the gauge (C'helu). The general 
direction of the river here is north and south, so that (iondokoro is well situated with 
regard to the prevailing win<ls. The main channel, opposite the station, is about 400 yards 
across, but is sejjarated from the main land by a large island. 
(For description of the river to the Albert Nyanza, vid» Appendix, Vol. II.) 






From T<ake No. 










Falae channel (22 miles) 





Bahr el Zeiaf (south end) 










Abu Kuka 






1 " 









Latitude 5° 30' 




























(Country bounded on the north by the Sudan-Egyptian frontier, on the west by the Nile from that frontier to the 
mouth of the Atbara, on the south by the Atbara and Abyssinian and Eritrean frontiers, and on the east by the 
Red Sea.) 

Section 1. — Country between Halfa and the Atbara Mouth along the Nile Banks. 

Along the Nile from Faras to Haifa the east bank is fairly well cultivated. From Haifa to near Kosha, with the General. 
exception of Sarras, there is httle cultivation and practically no inhabitants. Most of this stretch is rocky and desert- 
like, and is known as " Batn El Hagar." South of Kosha cultivation and villages become more general, and continue 
almost uninterruptedly to Abu Hamed (see Chap. II, Sections 1 and 2. For the left bank, Dongola town, etc., see 
Chap. IX.) 

Between Abu Hamed and the Atbara junction there is little cultivation on the east bank, except south of Genenetti. 
From here to the Atbara there are about 500 sagias. The cidtivated land, as a rule, extends about 500 yards back 
from the river, and in a few places as much as 3 miles. 

The country enclosed by the river and the mainline Sudan Government Railways between Haifa and Abu Hamed 
is waterless, sandy, or gravelly desert, broken here and there by rocky hills and ridges. It is practically uninhabited, 
but is believed to contain minerals and workings of old mines near Kuror, etc. These are now being explored. 

The soil on the banks of the river in the Dongola Province is rich and alluvial almost throughout, and well adapted 
for cotton cultivation. This province is in fact the richest and most prosperous in the Sudan. 

Health is excellent all the year round. Very little fever, only simple cases. Little rain ; showers may be expected Climate, 
in September. The wind is almost constantly from the north. Ophthalmia, common in Egypt, is rare in Dongola 
Province. During months June to end of September, the weather is very hot and enervating, but air dry. 

Good roads, 5 metres in width, have been made on both banks of the Nile throughout the Province ; bends can be Uommuni 
cut off frequently, notably between Kosha and Abu Sari, a distance of 35 miles across the desert with no water (see Chap. II). catious. 
There is a desert track on the right bank from Dongola (Naui) to Merowe, a distance of about 100 miles without water, and 
there are other desert tracks which have never been traversed by a white man ; of these latter httle or nothing is known. 

Heavy goods, such as merchandise, grain, dates, etc., are mostly carried by boat, and there is no lack of transport 
for the needs of the natives in this respect ; boats are constantly being built, and every encouragement is given them 
to do so. 

A fortnightly post boat runs between Kerma and Merowe. From February to June, however, the low state of the 
river renders navigation for steamers dangerous through the rapids between Kerma and Dongola ; during these 
months, therefore, the mail is carried by camels over this reach of 40 miles, transport requirements being conveyed by 
Government gayasas, of which there are 9 in the Province. There are two steamers (1903). 

From Haifa to Debba the inhabitants are Berabra.* The Mahasi dialect is spoken from Haifa to Kerma. Here the 
Gararishf and then the Danagla (Berabra), commence and continue to Debba ; from there on to Berti are the Shaigia. 
From Berti to Khulla the Monasir are found, and then come the Robatab, who extend as far as Kerraba. From here 
on to the Atbara junction are the Angariab, Hagab, Merifab, and Fadlab. The few inhabitants of the desert are mostly 
wandering Bisharin. 

The total riverain population of Dongola Province numbered (December, 1902) 105,026, and is rapidly increasing. 

This is exclusive of nomad Arabs, whose numbers may be put down at 2,000 Gararish (along the river), besides 
Bisharin, and other Nomads (fii/r. Appendix F.) on the left bank. 

The occupation of the people is that of cultivating the ground, which they do very imperfectly except in Dar 
Shaigia ; it could be made to produce double the amount. 

♦ There are 4 Berberine dialects, viz. : — 

(1) " Kensi " from Shellal to Korosko. (2) " Feiadija " spoken near Korosko and South. 

(3) " Maha-si" spoken at Haifa, Sukkot, Mahas and up to Hannek Cataract and Badin Island. 

(4) " Dongolawi " from Kerma to Ambugol. 

(2) and (3) are nearly the same, and (1) and (4) are somewhat similar ; but a Dongolawi cannot underatand a Mahasi. 
t The Gararish are Nomad Arabs and theii' northern limit may be said to be Haifa. 




riverain, and 


Cultivation in the Dongola, ami Berber Provinces. 



Dom ptilms. 

Other trees. 



The natives of Mahas and Sukkot lag behind, the fault being entirely their own ; they are of an extremely indolent 
nature, perpetually quarrelling amongst themselves over questions as to ownersliip of land and date trees, and do little 
or nothing towards bettering themselves. 

There is naturally a certain proportion of poor in the province, but agricultural labour being in demand, employ- 
ment is always to be obtained by persons not too lazy to work. 

The cereals mostly cultivated on the river bank are dura, barley and wheat. Cotton has hitherto been grown to a 
limited extent for local use only. On the completion of the Nile-Red Sea Railway a great increase in cotton culture 
is expected. A large amount of land, admirably suited to the cultivation of this valuable commodity, is available, and 
very large issues of Egyptian cotton seed have this year (1904) been made by the Government. 

In the Berber Province the wheat and barley grown are of good quality, but both are expensive to cultivate. 

Average yield per feddan (Berber), barley 5 ardebs, average price per ardeb, PT.45 to PT.55. 
„ „ wheat, 3 „ „ „ PT.75. 

dura, 5 „ „ „ PT.35 to PT.80. 

In the Dongola Province the crops are as follows : — 


Mouths when planted. 

Months when cut. 

No. of 
cro))s yearly. 

Average yield per croj) )er feddan 
of Pr. 40 hiiK . 


Dura Shanii 




June and September 





August and December 



Ft4)ruary, end of ... 
October, end of, or Novem- 
ber, beginning of 


1 r 


3 to 4 ardebs. 
2^ to .3 ardebs. 

N.B. — The majority of the land will give three crops yearly, viz., twice dura and once wheat or barley. 

The number of sagias in the Dongola Province in December, 1902, was 3,462, besides 77 shadufs and two pumps. 
There are now (1904), nearly 4 000. 

Iron sagias, though tried, have been pronounced unsuitable as they are difficult to repair. Iron fittings for the old 
wooden sagias have, however, proved a decided success. European ploughs are not popular on account of their weight. 

The chief requirement of all the riverain Provinces is agricultural labour, men of the fellahin type, who would teach 
the inhabitants how to till and tend the soil, and thus produce crops in proportion to the value of the land. 

The local breed of cattle is fair, and moderately numerous, but might be improved in both respects. 

The date tax (PT.2 per tree) is one of the principal items of revenue in Dongola. There are also a considerable 
number of trees in the Berber Province. It is hoped that the new railway will enable dates to be much more largely 
exported,* and thus materially increase the revenue of these Provinces. At present the freights are almost pro- 
hibitive. Date harvest, October and November. Quality in Dongola excellent, and ripen before those from Egypt, 
Tunis or Tripoli. In Berber the dates are not so good. 

The dom palm furnishes a means of livelihood to many of the riverain inhabitants in the Berber Province. The 
leaf is made into mats, sandals, and baskets. Coir (lif) is largely exported to Omdurman, where it is made into rope. 

Besides the -ibc v^e, there are sunt trees mostly used for sagia building, and selem, talh, samr, and heglig mostly 
on the back ^».ids, with hara? and the dwarf tarfa on the river bank. Tamarind trees are being introduced and are 
doing well. 

A certain amount of senna grows wild in the Berber and Dongola Provinces. It is gathered by the Arabs, who 
transport it to Kordofan, and Aswan, where it fetches about £E.2J per camel load. 

Melons and lemons are plentiful in the spring and autumn. People are commencing to cultivate the vine. 

The import trade of the Dongola Province consists chiefly of cotton goods and such luxuries as sugar, tea, coffee, 
perfumery, etc., and of the export of cereals and dates. Business, however, is not brisk. The chief obstacle to the 
development of the import trade is the want of enterprise on the part of traders. There are excellent openings for 
merchants. The people are well off and willing to buy, especially such goods as cutlery, crockery, soap, agricultural 
implements, hardware, and such sundry merchandise, but at present (1904) there is not a single well-to-do trader in 
the Province. 

* In 1904 about :}(t,000 kautars of dates were exjioi ted fioiu l^ongola, the average price jjer kautar 
cost of freight per kantar from, say, Meiowe to Umdurman is about 75T.P. 

about 22P.T. The 

Haifa, Berber, Kuror, etc. 


Native cotton cloth, called " damur," is worked throughout the Province, and forms the chief clothing of the men, 
who dress in shirt and drawers, with ferda (or toga) of this material. 

Crime is small in proportion to number of population. Inhabitants most peaceably inclined, and all (men, 
women, and cliildren) work at their crops. 

Villages are mostly composed of well-built houses straggling along the borders of cultivation. The houses are 
built of gains (mud and stones), with good court yards, whitewashed and clean. Very superior to those of fellahin 
in Egypt. 

The " Nimetta " fly, a small midge, appears in countless myriads from November to April, both months inclusive, 
between Dalgo and Korti. The bite causes slight fever through irritation. At times they are absolutely unbearable, 
and cause temporary migrations of both white men and natives. Natives wear bunches of smouldering grass twisted 
round the head to keep off the fly. 

White ants also are both numerous and most destructive between Dalgo and Korti. 

Halfa (Wadi Haifa), comprising " The Camp " and " Haifa town " is the capital of the Province of Haifa,* which 
extends along the Nile from Faras Island (N. lat. 22° 10' approximately) to Abu Fatma. It is also the present 
headquarters and terminus of the main line (Sudan Government Railways) to Khartoum, as well as of the 
branch to Kerma. There are extensive railway workshops at the Camp. The latter includes barracks, prison, 
officers' mess, native quarter, and the old fortifications. Also post and telegraph office. Population about 400, of 
which one-quarter are white. No garrison at present. Haifa was for years (1885-96) the headquarters of the 
Frontier Field Force which defended the southern frontier of Egypt against the Dervish invasion. 

The civil quarter of Haifa Ues \\ miles to the north of the Camp. Here there is an excellent hotel, also railway 
station, post and telegraph offices, some good stores, and native bazaar. The population, which is composed chiefly of 
Egyptians and Sudanese, with a large sprinkling of Greeks, is about 2,900. 

Berber is a long straggling mud-built town containing about 5,000 inhabitants. It was captured by the 
Mahdists after a certain resistance on the 26th May, 1884, and was re-occupied by the Anglo-Egyptian forces under Lord 
Kitchener on 6th September, 1897. It is now the capital of the Berber Province, but this will be moved to El Damer 
in 1905 {vide Chapter IV). There are at present two railway stations, Berber Camp and Town. Post and telegraph 
office. There are no good stores in the town, and there is little trade here at present. The present town lies 2 miles 
to the north of old Berber, and is the headquarters of an Egyptian battalion. 

The desert road to Suakin starts from here (242 miles). Behind the town an immense flat plain stretches to the 
horizon. This is fertile soil, and only awaits proper irrigation to be reproductive. Berber is 1,140 feet above the 
Mediterranean or 95 feet below the level of Khartoum. 




Chief towns. 



Section 2. — Country between Halfa, Berber, Suakin and the Intersection of the 22nd Parallel 

WITH THE Red Sea. 

(«) Between the Railway and the Nile. 

For purposes of description this area is conveniently divided into two portions by the Haifa- Abu Hamed Railway. General. 
The portion west of the railway comprises some of the most arid country in the Sudan. The general formation 
is that of a plain covered with sand or gravel, dotted here and there with steep and even precipitous hills of from 100 to 
800 feet elevation above the plain, which falls gently and uniformly to within a few miles of the Nile. In places 
these detached hills are so numerous and so close together as to resemble connected ranges. As a rule the sand is coarse 
and heavy enough to afford excellent going for camels ; but strips of soft deep sand are occasionally met with, especially 
where the wind has banked it up against or between the hills. 

The crest of this gently sloping spur projecting into the bend of the Nile, is some 2,000 feet above sea level, where 
the railway crosses it, that is some 1,550 feet above Haifa and 1,080 feet above Abu Hamed. 

The country midway between the river and the railway has been little visited, and the only known place of 
any importance is J. Kuror, the highest hill west of the railway and some 4,070 feet above the sea. After heavy rains 
its " Makhzans," or rocky reservoirs, hold water for many months, and are occasionally visited by nomad Arabs. 

Immediately south of Haifa the plain terminates in a belt of low hummocky hills, some 8 to 10 miles wide. After 
Sarras, the belt becomes wider and the hills bolder, till they culminate in J. Ago, east of Akasha, at the southern end 
of the Batn El Hagar. 

Between Akasha and the latitude of Kosha the country becomes less confined, but contains several high and pre- 
cipitous hills. South of Kosha it becomes more and more open, and the hills lower and more scattered until they appear 
to die away south of Kerma. 

* The population of Haifa Province in 1904 was 30,800. 

^ ^ N 2 


Desert East of Kerma — The Athai. 








From Kerma, as far aa Old Dongola, practically no hills are visible from the river, and the sand hills are piled up 
on the very edge of the wat^r. At Old Dongola the ground rises, and from there, as far as J. Barkal, near Merowe, 
rocky elevations approach the river here and there, or are seen in the distance, without, however, always encroaching 
on the fertile belt on the right bank. 

From J. Barkal to Abu Hamed there is a rough and rocky belt of hills a few miles from the river, though the 
elevations are inconsiderable. 

Rain falls at long intervals in very heavy and local showers. From the upper part of the country it is carried 
off by a number of wide shallow wadis, whose beds are hardly distinguishable when crossed, though the slight remains 
of grass they sometimes contain show them up clearly when looked down on from the top of a hill. 

As these wadis reach the rocky belt along the river, their beds contract so much that after heavy rain regular 
torrents descend them, sweeping away anything they find in their path. Much damage occurred in this way to the 
camp at Akasha in 189(5, though no rain fell in the vicinity. 

South of the crest of the spur the chief drainage lines are the two Wadis Keheli, one of which rises near J. Kuror 
and joins the Nile, about 40 miles below Abu Hamed ; the other rises near No. 5 Station and is followed by the 
railway under the name of Wadi Gaud, and eventually reaches the Nile a little west of Mograt Island. 

Some of the wadis contain a little grass and a few stunted selem bushes, but there is no grazing for flocks except 
within a few miles of the Nile. Firewood also is very rarely met with. 

The riverain inhabitants graze their flocks a few miles into the desert. Besides these shepherds there are no in- 

There is none. 

Except in the hilly belt along the river, camels can go anywhere. 

The only track at all well-known is that from Dongola (Naui) to Merowe, cutting off the great bend of the Nile 
to the south. 

(A) Country East of Halfa-Abu Hamed Railway, or " The Atbai." 

The Atbai is roughly the name applied to the country bounded on the north by the Kena-Kosseir road, on the 
south by the Berber-Suakin road, on the east by the Red Sea, and on the west by the Nile from Kena to Haifa, 
and thence by the Sudan Government Railway to Berber. It lies, therefore, approximately, between N. lat. 
26 °and 20°. 

The northern half, which is inhabited by the Ababda, belongs to Egypt ; the southern portion, inhabited by the 
Bisharin and the Amarar, etc., near Suakin, belongs to the Sudan. Although on many maps this country is generally 
labelled " Nubian Desert," much of it is by no means desert in the true sense of the word. Comparatively little is 
known even now of the more southern districts* of the Atbai, and the following descriptive notes must be taken to 
apply chiefly to the country between north lat. 21° and 22° 30'. 

The country of the Bisharin, which is bounded on the north by an irregular line rather north of lat. 22°, and to 
the south extends as far as Mitateb on the Atbara, contains wide stretches of gravelly, sandy, or stony desert, inter- 
sected by frequent bare sandstone and granite ranges, but, at the same time, on the eastern side especially, it contains 
many more or less fertile and quite luxuriantly wooded wadis, in which water is sometimes found within 2 or 3 feet 
of the surface. 

East of the railway the hills become more frequent and larger, and the drainage lines more conspicuous. 

Generally speaking, the watershed between the Nile and the Red Sea, which lies between 35° and 35° 30' E. long., 
consists of a mass of hills from 30 to 40 miles in width. These hills, which consist of agglomerations of rather small 
features, out of which a bolder peak, such as J. Eigat, occasionally rises, are intersected by very numerous rocky khors, 
which feed a few large and weU-wooded wadis. West of the watershed, from as far south as 20° 30', all the drainage 
escapes north by the wadis Alagi and Gabgaba, which unite to the east of Korosko and join the Nile near Sayala. 

Of these the Gabgaba has the longest course, as its head waters rise much further south than those of the Alagi. 
Much of its basin is still unexplored, in fact, the only well known portion is the plain south-east of Murrat wells, which 
is painfully arid and deficient in vegetation. 

Many of the wadis, however, that descend to it on the east are well wooded as long as they are in the hills, and 
even for a few miles after they have emerged from them. 

The scheme of drainage here is exactly the reverse of that west of the railway. 

Instead of water-courses beginning broad and ending narrow and deep, here they commence with narrow defined 
rocky channels, gradually becoming broader, sandier, of more gentle slope, and in many places with fine trees and 
much " tabas " grass. When the hills are left, however, the trees die away, the grass disappears, and the bed becomes 
ill-defined or completely lost. South of the parallel of Murrat the country appears to become more open, and probably 
very wide plains exist with little to offer to even a desert Arab. 

* Vide p. 89. 

The Athai. 


South of the Gabgaba Basin, the drainage from the watershed descends nearly due west by several large wadis, 
which have at various times given trouble to the railway. Owing to the outcrop of rocks near the river between Abu 
Hamed and Berber, the beds of these wadis become restricted as they approach the river, with the usual result as regards 
spates and floods. 

On the east of the watershed the wadis, after leaving the hills on which they rise, traverse a range of granite hills, 
and thence flow, generally in a north-east direction, to the maritime plain of the Red Sea. 

The principal wadis, from north to south, are Hasium, Di-ib, and Haieit. 

The Wadi Hasium, after emerging from the hills of Abu Hodeid, skirts the Kajoj and Musa ranges, which it leaves 
some distance to the south, and flows through open country to the sea. It contains the wells of Kajoj and Shalatein. 

The Wadi Di-ib, perhaps the most important wadi of the Eastern Atbai, rises in the Amarar country, probably as 
far south as the 20th parallel, and flows generally northwards. About 20 miles before it turns eastwards to traverse 
the open maritime plain, it opens out into a wide basin, a mile in breadth and 8 to 10 miles in length, containing a bed 
of rich alluvial soil. This basin forms the principal cultivable land in the Um Ali Bisharin country. It is the property 
of the Shantirab, but portions are allotted both to the Amrab and Belgab in good years. An important tributary on 
the left bank of the Di-ib is the Wadi Hufra, which, rising in the Amrab country in the hills to the north-east of Onib, 
joins it at the north end of the J. Elba range. It receives all the drainage from the hills of the southern Belgab country 
by the Wadis Is and Legia. At several places in its bed, the Arabs cultivate and obtain good crops of dura. 

Wadi Haieit, in the southern Atbai, is also said to be cultivated. 

The ranges of Elba and Asotriba are composed of red granite, whilst at the foot of the latter are small hills of very 
beautiful hornblende porphyrite. 

The climate of the Atbai is probably the best in the Sudan. The air is of absolute purity, and the elevation, 1,500 
to 3,000 feet above sea level, very considerably mitigates the shade temperature. The heat of the sun, however, is in- 
tensely fierce in warm weather, owing to the glare from the sand and rocks. During the summer, waves of superheated 
air are occasionally known, such as that which destroyed a convoy on the march from Korosko to Abu Hamed in 1897. 

In winter, the cold is quite severe, and anyone proposing to travel there in December or January should make sure 
he has plenty of bedding and warm clothes. 

Though it is essentially a very dry climate, dew falls at Deraheib on the west of the watershed in December, and 
a misty haze, which seems to be connected with moisture in the air, frequently covers the whole country. The climate 
of the littoral is, as may be supposed, much warmer than that of the interior. 

The rain falls in violent local showers during the months of July and August, called the " Shuti " rains. In 
exceptional years, showers occur in May and June. 

Many places go without rain for several years in succession, but during the above-mentioned months it is always 
risky to camp in the bed of a wadi, as a spate may come down, though no rain nor clouds have been visible to the 

The dew is very heavy on the littoral, and suffices to keep the bush grazing in good condition, though it is insufficient 
to raise the short grass, which sprouts after rain, and which forms the principal pasture for sheep. 

There are nowadays no towns or villages in the Atbai. The Arabs live by families in groups of tents made of dom- 
palm matting. These, of course, move according as it suits them. 

There are, however, throughout this district, the remains of quite large stone-built villages, formerly inhabited 
by the miners of the ancients. Those at Deraheib are particularly striking. Deraheib (Der — castle, aheib — beautiful) 
was evidently at one time the seat of a colony of miners. On the right bank of the wadi are the broken walls 
of 500 or more houses, arranged in streets. The castle, a large square building, stands under the hills on the left bank. 
The pointed arches of the castle and portions of some of the houses are set in Hme. The majority of buildings, however, 
are constructed of stone and mud. 

The vegetation, generally, is rare and scanty, though in some of the large wadis, even west of the watershed, it is 
surprisingly luxuriant. Perhaps the Wadi Alagi, with its fine sayal and heglig and abundant marakh, arak and other 
green trees, is the most striking instance. West of the Gabgaba, and immediately east of it, selem is chiefly met with, 
but as one ascends the wadis one comes on sayal and the rare palm, " Medemia argun." 

The latter is especially numerous in the Wadis Abaraga and Terfaui, and is found in many other khors in the 
neighbourhood, especially in those descending from J. Rafit to the Gabgaba. 

No adult specimens were noticed east of the Wadi Abaraga, though there are many young plants trying to sprout 
at Abu Tabag. 

This palm is largely used for mat-making, and the Arabs are fully alive to the advantage of preserving it, as well 
as other trees. 

The grazing is not confined to the actual beds of the wadis. There are many flat or depressed places where, for some 
months after good rain, excellent grazing is found for camels, sheep, and goats. 

east of 



Towns or 




The Atbai. 

east of 





The rainfall, however, is so uncertain that it is impossible to rely on finding grazing at any particular place even if 
it has been found there in previous years. 

The vegetation along the wadis flownng towards the sea varies considerably from that found along those emptying 
into the Nile. Large trees, such as sayal, selem, heglig and tundub are found along the former, as well as a bush 
called '■ adlib," which camels are extremely fond of, " arad," an acacia, growing on the tops of the granite hills 
that border the littoral, is used by the Arabs to produce the red dye for the leather of sword scabbards, etc. The 
medicinal quaUties of the small undergrowth and grasses of the eastern Atbai are considered by the Arabs far more 
efficacious than those of the west. A species of gum tree, similar to the " Ficus elastica," but with a smaller leaf, exists 
on the hills of the eastern Atbai ; it is known by the Arabs as " gemmeiza." 

Water is scarce throughout the whole district and, where found, is in many places more or less brackish. 

The only wells that have been sunk by the present Government are at Nos. 4 and 6 stations, at both of which 
a plentiful supply is obtained at less than 100 feet depth. 

The ordinary water supply consists of regular wells, stone lined for part or all of their depth, rough excavations 
in the beds of wadis, and accumulations of rain water in cracks or hollows in the rocks. These latter, which are called 
" makhzans," if large, and " gammam," if small, contain the best water. Those on J. Rafit are particularly well 
known, and were drawn on for the supply of the garrison of Murrat before the re-conquest of the Sudan. 

The largest supply of water is perhaps found in the Wadi Murrat close under the old fort. This, in the pre-Dervish 
days, was the midway halting place of caravans proceeding from Korosko to Abu Hamed. and very large numbers 
of camels used to be supplied from the wells at this place. The water is brackish and disagreeable, but drinkable. 

Like the Murrat Wells, most of the wells in the Atbai are situated in the beds of wadis and khors, and are con- 
sequently filled in every time a flood descends, entailing great labour on the inhabitants, who have to clear them out. 
This is especially the case with those which are not stone lined. (A list of wells is given on page 92.) 

As may be supposed, the Atbai is not a great agricultural district. In years of good rainfall, however, there is 
a considerable amount of dura cultivated in the Wadis Alagi, Gabgaba, and Di-ib, etc., but the Arabs rely chiefly 
on Aswan, and to a lesser extent on Halaib and Suakin for their grain supply. At the former town they find a ready 
sale for their sheep, which command good prices. The price of a sheep at Aswan is about PT.75, at Suakin PT.25, 
whilst dura at Aswan only costs from PT.40 to FT. 70 per ardeb, whereas at Suakin it is oftener nearer PT.1.50 
Aswan is, therefore, the most popular market with the Arabs of the Atbai. 

The one main road through this country, that from Korosko to Abu Hamed viii Murrat, which used to be the artery 
through which the commerce of the Sudan flowed to Egypt, has fallen into disuse since the construction of the railway, 
and there are now no other tracks except those made by the Nomad Arabs. 

The nature of the country, consisting as it does of masses of very small features intersected by numerous khors, 
and often separated by plains of considerable extent, lends itself to great freedom of movement in almost all directions. 
The absence of regular trade, too, has militated against the formation of stereotyped routes, and the result is, that 
between any two places you can find at least one and very often several more or less different routes, none of which, 
unless lately passed over by a large party, would appear to the traveller more frequented than the others. 

The hilly mass forming the watershed is so far an exception that camel transport from one side to the other is 
restricted to a few passes. 

The tracks, as a rule, are bad and stony ; camels, even those bred in the country, soon suffer from sore feet. 
The tracks usually follow the wadis. 

That this country was once, to a certain extent at any rate, rich in gold, is evident from the numerous shafts and 
traces of former workings that are seen. 

The following species of game are found in the Atbai : — 

Ariel : scarce on Wadi Di-ib, but south of Darur, plentiful. 

Gazelle {Isabella and Dorcas). 

Ibex : on hills adjoining littoral. 

Cony (native Halidob) : hills Red Sea to Murrat. 

Wild ass : Onib to Di-ib. 

Wild sheep : rare, in hills from Aswan to Abu Hamed, and along the Nile from Murrat to Akasha. Well known 
to exist at J. Rafit and East of Gabgaba. 

Klipspringer and Dig-Dig : hills adjoining littoral south of Bowarti. 

Cheetah and leopard : rare in hills near littoral. 

Hyena and wild dog „ ,, „ 

Also bluerock pigeon and sand, rock, and night-grouse on all hills. 

Southern Athai. 


Atbai — South of Latitude 20° 0', 

from the northern portion of the Atbai the general line of the watershed between the Nile and the Red Sea is south- l^rainage. 
eastward as far as the hills enclosing the upper part of the Wadi Amur. 

The hills lying to the north of the Wadi Amur in its upper part form a portion of the watershed. 

North of these hills are a series of large khors which drain first north and north-east. Lower down these khors 
are practically unknown, but are said to curve eastward and reach the sea north of Cape Elba. The largest of these 
khors are Mahaleit, Dirab, and Haieit. In their upper portions they are broad level valleys covered with a considerable 
amount of coarse grass. The scrub in them is low and scattered. 

South of Wadi Amur the watershed lies north and south in about E. long. 37° 20', until the great Khor Arab basin 
is reached. 

Of the wadis draining westward, south of lat. 20°, Khor Arab has by far the largest drainage area. It includes 
in its lower portion not only Khor Arab proper, but also Khors Erheib and Thamiam and Barameyu. It may be said 
to drain the whole triangle of country, whose angular points are Kokreb, Erkowit, and Oi. 

Between Khor Arab and Wadi Amur the drainage is taken by Khors Habob and Laiameb, whUe Khors Misrar and 
Aderot drain the country between Khor Arab and the Tobrar range. 

On the east side of the hills the valleys are narrower and have a steeper fall, and possess well-defined and clean- 
swept watercourses, which, in the narrower valleys, cover the whole bed of the valley. 

The most important of the khors draining west are Khors Garar, Arbat, Okwat, and Adit. 

The general course of Khors Garar and Okwat is at right angles to the watershed, and the upper parts of these 
khors are therefore steep and stony. Khors Arbat and Adit lie parallel to the watershed for a considerable part of 
their length. 

Khor Arbat is the largest of these khors, and, from its watershed, opens out almost immediately into the broad 
Odrus plain, which the Berber-Suakin caravan road crosses. 

Entering the Akareirirba hills, it narrows in, and in the lower part of its course it becomes a defile shut in by steep 
hills, which rise directly from the sandy and stony bed of the watercourse. 

Khor Adit also has its maximum width in its upper part between Sinkat and Jebel Erba, and, narrowing as it 
descends, joins Khor Okwat through Khor Totali, a winding defile shut in by steep hills, and in places only 200 yards 

The minor khors which drain eastward from the hills bounding Khors Adit and Arbat, are steep stony valleys, 
ending in agabas, strewn with boulders and difficult of passage by loaded camels. 

Such are Khors Adaia and-Bengar, leading from Khors Arbat and Khors Teiutelri and Abent from Khor Adit. 

The khors become ill-defined on leaving the hills, and what vegetation they possess gives place to the low scrub 
and coarse grass of the maritime plain. 

The higher parts of the watershed on the eastern side have a perfect winter climate, and the extreme ranges of Cliinate. 
the temperature are less than those of the higher plains of the northern Atbai. 

On clear nights in the late autumn and winter a very heavy dew falls, quite sufficient to saturate any bedding 
or kit left exposed to it. 

On the west side of the watershed little or no dew falls. 

To the west of the hills the rainy season coincides with that in the Nile Valley, while in the east rain may be expected 
between November and March, although local thunderstorms may occur at other times of the year. 

The winter rain in the western liills is sometimes heavy thunder rain, and at other times a heavy downpour or 
thick mist, unaccompanied by electrical disturbances. 

In the lower parts of the khors, where they merge into open desert, the vegetation is very scanty. It is confined Vegetation 
to a thin line of scattered scrub which marks the lowest part of the valley. 

As the valleys become narrower and more marked the trees are larger. 

Selem, samr, and tundub,form the chief part of the vegetation, with gamob in Wadi Amur and a thick belt of " eitil " 
in Khor Arab, near its junction with Khor Oi. 

In the valleys east of the watershed the trees are larger and more numerous. Khor Adit is especially notice- 
able in this respect, with its large gemmeiza trees near Sinkat well, its thick covering of arak bush along the bed of the 
valley, and sunt and other trees of considerable size near the watercourse. The steep and stony khors, however, such 
as Khor Garar and the upper part of Khor Okwat, are in most places swept too bare of earth to allow of the growth 
of trees of any size. 


Sovihem Atbai. 





The grazing on both sides of the watershed is confined to the actual valleys. 

The watersheds dividing the westward-flowing khors are low rough ridges of black rock and gravel, and are practi- 
cally destitute of vegetation. 

After rain, there is frequently grazing in the depressions in the atmurs, such as El Gura, near Tendera. 

In the khors on the east of the watersheds there is little or no grass until the lower levels are reached, except in 
the Odrus plain and in the upper part of Khor Adit, near Sinkat. 

Throughout the whole stretch of desert, between the hills and the railway, water is scarce. 

Besides those at the well-known halting places on the Berber-Suakin caravan road — Obak and Ariab — the following 
wells may be noted : — 

Garafab. — 50 miles N.N.E. of Abidia, has several shallow wells among sand dunes. 

Sararat Well. — In Wadi Amur, is 96 miles from Garafab. The well is 50 feet deep, and is lined with stone, but 
only gives a small supply. This well is probably the same as that marked on the older maps as the " Oasis of Amur." 

South of the Suakin-Berber road the chief wells are as follows : — 

Tendera, Mib, and Oi. — There are several good wells at each of these places. 

The Mib wells are specially good, and lie in a hollow of the hills, reached by a narrow defile about J of a mile long. 

The water supply at Thamiam is very good, but the wells are dug in the bed of the khor and are liable to fill up. 

There is sometimes water in the rocks at Rauai, but it was stated not to be sufiicient to water a hamla of 80 camels 
in November, 1902. 

Talgwarab is only a water hole 18 feet deep, and cannot be counted on as a supply at present. The natives state 
that attempts to dig down deeper are prevented by the light soil falling in. 

Near the watershed the wells are more numerous. There are four wells in the upper part of Khor Haieit, and 
several others in the deep valleys through which the larger khors drain into the Haieit, Amur, and Arab basins. In the 
upper part of Wadi Amur, above Sararat, wells are reported to be about 1 1 miles apart. On the eastern side, besides the 
existing wells, water could probably be found at a depth of a few feet anywhere in Khor Arbat. The wells in the 
lower parts of the khors are frequently brackish. Hoshiri at the foot of Khor Okwat is an example of this. 

In years when the rainfall is good there is a considerable area under dura cultivation in Khor Arab near Talgwarab 
and between there and Thamiam wells. The natives build numbers of horse-shoe shaped dams to retain the water 
and keep it standing on the ground. There are also signs of the main khor channel having been dammed to divert the 
water over the flat earthy soil of the valley. 

The upper stretches of Khors Barameyu and Erheib and Hareitri are also used for dura growing. 

There is also cultivation near Abu Goloda, on the eastern side in the head of Khor Haieit, in Khor Adit above 
Sinkat, and especially in the Odrus Plain, dura is grown. 

Near the Atbara River there is a considerable area under cultivation in Khor Abadar. 

Besides the main Berber-Suakin caravan road there are well-marked roads leading to Rauai well. 

The Tendera-Mib-Oi road is also a good track and the surface is fairly smooth, except at the approaches to Mib 
and Oi wells. 

The going on the main Suakin-Berber road is distinctly bad in several places, notably at the head of the Kokreb 
valley, in Wadi Hareitri and in Khor Hadasana. 

Near the hills, communications parallel to the watershed are difficult, as for instance between Haieit and Kokreb. 
Such a line is very hard on camels, as there is a continued succession of deep-cut khors of varying size divided by hills 
or ridges of loose shale and black rock, steep and difficult to surmount. 

The road leading from Khor Haieit to Khor Garar is a fairly easy one for camels, but Khor Garar itself is very 

The chief routes across the watershed are : — 

From Khor Barameyu to Sinkat — here the gradients are very easy and the surface smooth. 

A route westward from Sinkat towards Abu Goloda and Rauai has steep stony " agabas." 

From Abu Goloda into the Odrus plain — easy slopes but rough underfoot in the upper part of the Abu Goloda khor. 

Wadi Hareitri on the Berber-Suakin road — very rough underfoot. 

From Wadi Amur into Khor Yudib^many low rough watersheds have to be crossed, and there is no beaten track. 

From Khor Arbat the maritime plain can be reached either : — 

(1) By the Tamabaf watershed into Khor Okwat. 

(2) By Khor Dimm. 

(3) By Khor Adaia or Khor Bengar. 

Of these the, Tamabaf and Khor Dimm routes are easy for camels, but Khors Adaia and Bengar have steep and 
rough " agabas." 

The Bisharin. 


(c) The Bisharin. 

The Bisharin inhabit the desert Dounded on the north, roughly, by the Alagi and its tributaries, on the south by 
the Atbara, on the east by the Red Sea from Shalatein to J. Asotriba, and thence by a Hne joining Mitateb or Umbeiba 
on the Atbara, and on the west by the Nile from the mouth of the Atbara to Abu Hamed, and thence by the old 
trade route from Abu Hamed to Korosko. 

The Ababda and Bisharin formerly lived a good deal further south in the districts now occupied by the Hadendoas ; 
both tribes moved northwards probably about 100 years ago. 

The Ababda by their move north, came into a more civilised country. Their Sheikhs, through the transport needed 
on the Korosko — Abu Hamed road, came into touch with the Government and acquired at this time great wealth, and 
with wealth, their numbers increased, whilst the Bisharin of the hills, left far behind as regards progressiveness, 
soon came to be despised by them. 

The Bisharin claim descent from Bishar, the son of Kahl, who was also the father of Abad and Amar, from whom 
the Ababda and Amarar are said to have sprung. 

Kahl is said to have been descended from Zubeir Ibn El Awam,* whose wife was a sister of Abbas, uncle of the 
Prophet. They maintain, therefore, that they are descended from the noble Koreish Tribe. In the genealogy of the 
tribe, the three principal ancestors are Kahl, Bishar, and Ali Jalan ; on this all accounts seem to agree. The present 
generation of Sheikhs is generally said to be the ninth or tenth from Ali Jalan. 

The descendants of Kahl most likely originally inhabited part of the district now occupied by the Hadendoas, 
the Bisharin, and Ababda, as stated above, having latterly moved northwards. 

The Bisharin are divided into two great families, the Um Ali and Um Naji. The former live in the north, the latter 
in the south, of their country. Both sections are named after the wives of Ali Jalan, the great grandson of Bishar, 
who had the following sons : — 

By Um Ali. 


By Um Naji. 


Ali .. 
Amer . . 


Hanr . 
Eira . 
Nafi . 

Mansur ab. 

of Bisharin. 



Aliab.— The Aliab, who are far more numerous and wealthy than any of the Um Ali or Um Naji tribes, are divided 
into the following sub-tribes : Koatil, Mallak, Hamedomerab, Kurbeilab, and Balgab. 

The first three named are sometimes classed together and known as the Sararab, on account of their near common 

The Sheikh of the Koatil has for two generations been the representative Sheikh of these three families ; before this 
the Sheikhship was with the Hamedomerab. 

Sub-tribes of the Aliab. 

Koatil.— The Koatil, under Sheikh Isa Abdalla, are a small tribe, and poor. They live at Meshushenai and Terfaui. 

Hamedomerab. — Sheikh Mohammed Wad Kurab. This, again, is a small tribe, owning few camels, but good flocks 
of sheep and goats. 

Wadi Meisa, at the head of which is Bir Meisa, is where most of the tribe are to be found during the summer. 
Their two wells are Meisa and Didaut, close together in the small hills north of the Elba red granite range. 

Mallak.— Sheikh Isa Shingeirab. The Mallak, the third Sararab tribe, is by far the richest, and own many cameh, 
and of a breed which is famous among all the neighbouring tribes. The Mallak own many wells. f 

Balgab.— The next of the Aliab tribes is the Balgab (Isa Abdalla), who live in the hills about Is. They have never, 
since the time of Abdalla, the father of Isa, had a representative Sheikh, but have always been represented by the 
Sheikh of the Sararab. 

They have good herds of camels, sheep, and goats. They do not frequent the Aswan market as much as the other 
Aliab sub-tribes, but they sell a great deal to merchants who come from there, and buy much of their corn in good 

* In spite of tlieir claim to be of Semitic origin, the Bisharin are not true Arab.s and are of Hamitic descent, 
t Vide list of well?, p. 92. 


BishMrin Wells. 

tion for 
murder or 

years from the Di-ib. They are a wilder people than the other tribes and very rarely leave their hills. They are shy 
and difficult of approach. Their wells are Is and Legia. 

KuRBEiLAB. — Sheikh Mohammed Katul. This is a large tribe. They have many wells, generally in the small 
tributaries of the upper Alagi. 

Katul, Sheikh of the tribe, is by far the ablest man of the Aliab Sheikhs, or, in fact, of any other of the Bisharin 

The traditional " diia " or compensation for loss of life among these Arabs is : for a man, 50 male and 50 female 
camels ; for women or children, or loss of legs, arms, eyes, 25 male and 25 female camels. 

Wounds are assessed according to their gravity. The cause in which murders are committed, or a wound is received, 
is alwaj-s taken into consideration. 

The above amounts are the limit of compensation. 

The following is a list of Bisharin wells in the northern Atbai, showing the sub -tribe to which they belong ; 


Name of Well. 


(i) Um All 

Koatil .. 

Hamedomerah .. 

Balgab ... 



J. Mashushanai 
Meisa ... 
Didaut ... 
Eigat ... 
Heilaigabeir . 
Biitna ... 
El Eifein 
Abu Dom 
Um Gabrit 
Abu Tabag 
Legia ... 

Neslid ... 
J. Abu Hodeid 
Uni Beshtit 
Jugub ... 
Nasari ... 
Miaus ... 
Shinai ... 
El Faui... 
Kaioj ... 
Murrat ... 

Telat Abda 

Abu Tabag 
Naba ... 

Selala ... 

Water good — shared by Eireiab. 

Water in open basin, 1 2 feet deep — sweet but scarce (December, 

Not mucli water, and then only aftei' rain. 

Not open 1903. 


Water never more than a few feet below surface — sometimes flowing. 

Well 10 feet deep — not much water, rather salt. 

Good water and plentiful. 

Good water, but supply does not last. 

Slightly brackish — 10 to 15 feet down, according to season. 

Good water — not visited. 

Stone lined well, 24 feet deep — water plentiful, but sliglitly brackish. 

Good water and plentiful. 

Good water, 4 feet down. 

Water good — camels cannot approach owing to rocks. 

Water good. 

Water in tanks in mountain ; also obtainable by digging at base. 

Water plentiful — in spring and tanks. 

Not always water. 

Rarely open, and not much water. 

Hole in side of hill — much water on surface, 

1 well, belongs to Amrab — good water, not visited. 
Very small supply of good water. 

Small supply of good water. 
Much water, about 10 feet down. 
Good water, and plentiful supply. 
Much water, near surface — salt. 


Best well is used by the Mining Co. — water very brackish and very 

aperient. If long stay to be made, water should be obtained from 

J. Rafit (10 miles). 

2 wells of 15 feet deep — one brackish. In westerly well, water sweet 
but scarce. 

Stone lined well, 24 feet deep — water plentiful but slightly brackish. 
Also belongs to Eireiab— much water, 4 to 5 feet down, very salt. 

3 wells about 8 miles apart in bed of wadi. 
Much water — slightly brackish, 10 feet down. 
Much water, 15 feet down — brackish. 
Not much water — very brackish, 8 feet down. 
Brackish water — rarely open. 
Well, 35 feet deep — stone lined, 9 feet of water, brackish (December, 


Bisharin and Ahabda. 



Name of Well. 


Sliantiral) — continued. 

Amrab ... 


(ii) Um Nagi. 
Eireiab ... 



Murio ... 
Sania . . . 
Sohanit . . . 


Eiweb . . . 
Dilko ... 
Nasari ... 

Halaib ... 
Shellal ... 

Naba ... 

El Dueim 



but much polluted by animals 

Well, 25 feet deep — water sweet, 
(December, 1902). 


Well, 12 feet deep — good water and plentiful. 

Bad water — only fit for camels and goats. 

Bad water, but plentiful. 

Bad water, but drinkable. Better water from the tanks in neigh- 
bouring hills. 

Water plentiful and good from well, if open. Also from natural tank 
in rock. 

Not always open — water good, 10 feet below the surface. 

Good water, and plentiful — 8 feet down. 

Eain water only — little. 

Good water, and plentiful — 6 to 8 feet down. 

Good water 1 

Water near the surface, but not always in the same place (1903). 

Spring — water rather salt. 

Water plentiful, in springs or wells round its base. 

Well, 15 feet deep, near Government Post — water brackish. 

Well, 14 ft. deep — very brackish, better from natural tanks 300 feet ? 

Much water, 4 to 5 feet down — very salt. 3 wells about 8 miles 

apart in bottom of the wadi. 
Good water and plentiful — about 10 feet down. 
I Much water — brackish, 10 to 12 feet down. 
Good water — plentiful, about 10 feet down. 

Three main- 

{d) Ababda. 

The following brief account of the Ababda Arabs, whose country adjoins the Bisharin, is given here, as, although 
with the exception of the Meleikab section, they are under the Egyptian Administration, they are generally said to 
have sprung from the common ancestor Kahl {vide origin of Bisharin). Feuds, too, between these tribes, though now 
less frequent, were, until recently, of constant occurrence. 

The Ababda, who inhabit the Atbai from roughly north lat. 22° 30', where they adjoin the Bisharin, to as far north 
as the Kena-Kosseir road, are divided into three main sections or sub-tribes, viz., Eshabab,Fogara, and Shanatir. 

(1) EsHABAB. — The Eshabab, which is by far the largest and most powerful section of the Ababda, range practi- 
cally the whole way from Kena to Ongwat, and share the Kosseir route with the Shanatir. The Sheikhship of this 
sub-tribe rests with the Gubran family, of which Beshir Bey is the representative. Beshir Bey's residence is at Aswan ; 
he claims to be Nazir of the Ababda, and does not admit any common ancestry with the Bisharin. This sub-tribe 
is divided into many minor sub-tribes. 

(2) FoGAEA. — The most important sub-tribe of the Fogara is the Meleikab, part of which sub-tribe belongs to Egypt 
and part to the Sudan. The Meleikab in the Sudan, who are practically a colony of those in Egypt, range from Korosko 
to Abu Hamed, but considerable movement goes on between the two sections. The head Sheikh of the Fogara is Abdul 
Azim Bey of the Khalifa family ; his headquarters are at Derau, in Egypt, on the Nile, north of Aswan. 

(3) Shanatir. — The Shanatir share the Kosseir route with the Eshabab, and also live on the river between Aswan 
and Korosko. Their headquarters are at Sayala. Their hereditary Sheikh is Bashari Bey, who belongs to the Shanatir 
family. Their largest sub-tribe is the Abudiin. 

The feuds before-mentioned are, as a rule, in connection with the wells. The Ababda having gradually moved Feuds with 
north, base their claims to wells, now occupied by Bisharin, on the fact that they originally belonged to them, despite Bisharin. 
the fact that they themselves left them perhaps half a century ago. 

o 2 


Suttkin, Erkowit, Tokar. 

Section 3. — Suakin and District. 

Sdakiii. The town of Suakin is built partly on an island and partly on the mainland, connected by a causeway, called 

after the famous General himself : " Gordon's Gate and Causeway." The portion of the town on the mainland is 
caUed El Kaf. 

The Government offices, official, and most of the larger civilian residences are situated on the island. Many of them 
are imposing-looking buildings of coral, several stories high. 
Harbour. The khor or inlet of Suakin is bordered by a reef of rocks on either side, its length being 2 miles, and its 

breadth at the narrowest part, 180 yards. At the entrance of the khor there is a depth of 25 fathoms, which 
gradually decreases towards Quarantine Island to a depth of from 6 to 8 fathoms. The bottom throughout the 
channel is mud. 

The harbour will accommodate about 20 vessels without blocking the channel, though as many as 34 vessels, 
men-of-war and transports, were berthed at one time during the expedition in 1884. 

Owing to the numerous coral reefs Suakin is a most difficult harbour to enter and to beacon adequately, and 
would probably never be safe to navigate at night.* For further details, vide " The Red Sea Pilot." 
Population. The population at the present time may roughly be estimated at about 10,500 inhabitants. 

Water The water supply is from two sources, firstly, from Shaata Wells, distant about J mile from the walls of the 

Supply. town, and, secondly, from the pulsometer, which pumps water at the rate of 12J tons per hour, from wells J mile 

beyond those of Shaata. 

This latter water is brackish and is only used as a rule for cooking and washing : it is sold in the town at 
1 noillieme per can of about 3^ gallons. 

Shaata water, on the other hand, is fairly good : it is brought into the town in skins and is sold at 1 PT. per 
skin in the summer months and rather cheaper during the winter. 

New condensers to take the place of the old sets which have not been used since 1900 are now (1904) on their 
way to Suakin. 
Rains. In the neighbourhood of Suakin heavy rains occur at intervals from October to February, with occasional rare 

storms up to the end of March. In the desert, between Suakin and Berber, torrential rains sometimes fall about 
July to September. No year passes without rain unless in the extreme north of the Province, where very occasion- 
ally there is a wholly dry season. In July, 1896, and in 1903, exceptionally heavy rains took place, filling all the 
wells, including Obak, almost to overflowing. The total rainfall for the 12 months March (1903)— February (1904) 
was 1145 m.m.,"!" of which 124 m.m. fell in May. 

The part of the town built on the mainland, is entirely surrounded by a high coral wall, built in the old days to 
resist the attacks of the Dervishes. There is also a line of outer forts about a mile beyond, but since the suppression 
of Mahdism these have not been garrisoned, and there is now only half a battalion stationed at Suakin. 
Time at Suakin is Cairo time, not local time. 

Suakin is connected by Eastern telegraph cable with Aden, Suez, Perim and Obokh, and by Ottoman cable 
with Jedda. Communication by land is by land lines to Berber and Kassala. 

The heat at Suakin is very great during June, July, August and September, and the climate is much damper 
than is usually the case in most parts of the Sudan. The difference between the wet and dry bulb thermometer is 
often 21°. Sand storms are experienced during summer, when sand fills the air for 40 or 50 miles seaward, rendering 
objects invisible at a distance of more than \ mile. 

In January the average daily temperature is about 77° and at night about 73°. 

Erkowit, the summer headquarters of the Suakin district, is an undulating plateau with low granite hills and easy 
khors, about 3,000 feet above sea level, and 35 miles from Suakin. The headquarters have now ( 1904) moved to Erkowit 
for the third year in succession. The station consists at present of seven houses, built of stone and mud-brick, white 
washed, which are used as offices and quarters for certain of the employes. A mess-house has been built on the slope 
of a hill not far from these offices, also quarters or rest-houses, four in number, for the Governor or inspectors or other 
officers. These are all built of wood with corrugated iron roofing over felt and raised about I foot from the ground 
on iron piping as a protection against the white ant. This precaution has proved to be wholly successful. There is 
Water an abundant supply of excellent water from two wells situated in a khor in close proximity to the Government 

supply. offices. 

Erkowit is in telegraphic communication with Suakin during the summer months. 
Climatcu The climate of Erkowit in the summer is dry and healthy, a striking contrast to Suakin. In the winter, the hills 

are wrapped in clouds, and a drizzling mist nearly always hangs over them. In March, the plateau and the eastern 

* Chiefly on this account it has been decidetl to abandon Suakin and construct a harbour and town, etc., at Sheikh Barghut, vidi' p. 95. 
+ About 4*5 incheH. 






Erkoiuit and Tokar, etc. 


hill slopes are still clothed with green, the hill sides are covered with bush, ferns, flowers of various kinds, and grass, and 
the plateau affords excellent grazing. 

With regard to the road communications, there are four tracks in use from Suakin : — 

(1) Fi« the Sinkat Agaba and Khor Gebet ; three days for loaded camels. 

(2) Tamaneb and Khor Arab route, at present easier for lightly loaded camels than the following, but longer, and 
crossing two agabas, 39 miles. 

(3) The Masilli route, on which the very bad portion is fairly short, but the route involves an unnecessary detour 
and is only practicable for very lightly-loaded camels. Length, 36 miles. 

(4) Kolkilai Route: A new road or track has been made this year (1904) up this hillside, which rises over 
2,000 feet above the plain below, and it is now possible for hill camels carrying average loads to reach Erkowit with- 
out difficulty by this route — length 33 miles. A heavy hamla would still require to come by routes (1) or (2). 

Tokar, the next town of importance in the district, 56 miles by road south of Suakin, consists of a fort (built after 
the defeat of the Dervishes and capture of Tokar in 1891) in which are the Government offices, Mamur's house, post 
and telegraph offices, etc. There is also a small market place, with a few merchants' houses. It is situated at the mouth 
of the Khor Baraka, between Jebel Shabba and Jebel Heina, two prominent landmarks. The population is about 3,000. 
The soil of Tokar is rich, and there are very extensive fields for cultivation — cotton,* dura, dukhn, etc. — but owing to 
the uncertainty of the Baraka flood, and also to the fact that the country yearly runs a great risk of being devastated 
by locusts, it is impossible to foretell events or to form an estimate of what the produce of the district will be. One 
year the harvest may be an extraordinary rich one, the next may prove to be a blank. The Baraka is in flood from 
the middle of July to the end of September, reaching its maximum about the middle of August. 

During the months of June and July, i.e., prior to the Baraka flood, blinding dust storms prevail daily from 
9 in the morning tUl 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and it is impossible to see more than a few yards in front of one. Travellers 
constantly lose their way and occasionally die on the road between Tokar and Suakin. Formerly convoys and troops 
moving at that time of year often suffered severe privations. 

In the summer of 1891, a party of cavalry were caught in one of these storms and had terrible experiences, losing 
many men and horses. 

In the winter the climate of Tokar is dry and healthy. 

There are many wells, but the water is not of very good quality. 

Ras Magdam forms the northern entrance point of the inlet forming the harbour of Trinkitat, about 10 miles 
inland from which is the town of Tokar. The entrance to Trinkitat is not easily distinguishable, as the coast is low 
and sandy. Off the entrance lie extensive reefs and shoals. There is good anchorage outside the harbour in about 
6 fathoms, under shelter of the reef named Katat Kennasha. The harbour opens to the north-east, is about 
J mile wide, extends J mile to the southward, has a depth of 4 fathoms, and is capable of acconmaodating 20 vessels 
drawing from 18 to 21 feet ; the holding ground is good. The shores of the harbour are sandy, with low bushes. 

About 14 miles south and | miles west from Mersa Durur, and 36 miles north of Suakin, is the entrance to 
Mersa Barghut, useful as a temporary anchorage, and which is to supersede Suakin as a harbour, and the outlet 
for the trade of the Sudan. This Mersa is named after a chief,f the ruins of whose tomb on the northern point of the 
entrance is a good sea-mark. The khor is formed by a gap in the coast reef, by which it is also bordered ; its 
north-western arm extends inland 2\ miles, with depths of from 14 to 18 fathoms, mud for 1| miles, and then 
irregular soundings. A small vessel can go up in mid-channel, but could not turn without using warps. 

The western arm extends about J mUe, and shoals gradually ; there is a donga at its head trending more than 
a mile in a south-westerly direction, in which, during the wet season, there is fresh water, but, in the summer, only 
& shallow tidal drain. 

The tomb on the northern entrance point is more in the shape of a cottage than of the ordinary Arab tombs, 
and its summit, being about 25 feet above the sea, can be seen from the masthead of a vessel from a considerable 

There is good anchorage in 14 fathoms near the entrance of the north-western arm with the tomb, bearing 
about south-east by east. Here there is room for three vessels of moderate size at single anchor. 

No supplies of any kind can be procured, but there are some springs of good water on the southern side of the 
khor, about a raUe from the beach. Fish may be obtained by the score in the western arm. Game is plentiful, but 
somewhat wild. 

The remaining stations of importance in the district are merely police posts, consisting of a fort, garrisoned by 
police, with a small Arab community living in grass tukls close by. These are : Halaib, Mohammed Gul, and Agik, 

* In 191)3-04, 7,425 feddans were under cotton cultivation and yielded 29,039 kantars which realised ;£E.25,873, or an average 
of 891 P.T. per kantar. 

t Barghut ^ fleas. The new name for Sheikli Barghut is " New Suakin." 

cations with 



Dust storms. 









Police posts, 


Bed Sea Littoral. 


all on the Red Sea, and Karora, inland. Halaib is the most northern, and is near the frontier of Egypt. Karora is 
the post on the Sudan-Eritrean frontier, about 28 miles from the Red Sea. There are about 1,000 feddans of 
cultivable land between Karora and the sea on the northern side of the Sudan boundary of which the natives take 
advantage, though not to any great extent. 

In different parts of the Suakin district the following species may be found : Kudu, oryx (beisa), ibex, wild sheep, 
klipspringer, ariel, gazelle {Dorcas and Isabella), dig-dig, hare, bustard. Lion, leopard and cheetah are rare. 
There is good sea fishing at Suakin, which is famous for its so-called lobsters, which are really large crayfish. 

Nomad Arabs and Tribes. 

It is quite impossible to arrive at anything like an accurate number of the population of the Arabs in this district, 
but 50,000 is a fair estimate. Vide Appendix F. 

The majority of them live right in the interior of the hills and are constantly on the move, here, there, and anywhere, 
wherever rain happens to have fallen or grazing is plentiful. 

A journey, no matter how far, is nothing to them ; their houses, consisting simply of straw mats stretched over 
curved sticks, can be put up or pulled down in a very short ime. Their families, wives, children, and belongings, are 
put on what camels and donkeys they possess; cattle, sheep, goats, etc., are driven on ahead, and so the caravan 
proceeds, sometimes for a whole month and more, sometimes for only a few days. 

The chief tribes are the Amarar and the Hadendoa, both of which have many sub-tribes. There are also the Beni 
Amer, Bisharin, Ashraf, Shaiab, Habab, Komilab, Arteiga, and Rasheida, who came originally from Arabia and now 
live partly on the Atbara in Berber Province and partly near Agik. They were until recently much addicted to 
slave running. 

For detailed list of Nomads, vide Appendix F. 

Red Sea Littoral-Suakin District. 

The coast of the Suakin Province extends from Suakin to N. Parallel 22° on the north, and from Suakin to Ras 
Kasar on the south, i.e., roughly about 500 miles in all. The coast from Sheikh Barghut to Suakin is quite low, 
being composed entirely of raised coral reef, furrowed by khors which contain water only in the rainy season. 

There are several small inlets and creeks where dhows can anchor all along the coast, but the chief harbours, in 
addition to those already described, are as follows : — 

On the North. On the South. 



Mohammed Gul. 


Gezira Abdalla. 

Ras Magdam. 
Ras Kasar. 

At all of the above harbours, except Gezira, Abdalla, Heidob, and Ras Magdam, fresh water can be found a short 
way inland. 

Most of the entrances to the harbours are narrow, and require careful navigation ; moreover, they are in every case 
guarded by coral reefs, and as they are not at present (1904) lighted, they cannot be entered at night. 


north of 

Section 4. — Country between the Berber-Suakin Road, the Atbara, and the Abyssinian and 

Eritrean Frontiers. 


Kassala and Adarama are, with the exception of a few small outlying hamlets near the former and the one diminutive 
Hamran village on the Setit, the only permanent towns or villages in Sudan territory east of the Atbara. Nearly 
the whole of this country, except that near Kassala and south of it, belongs to the Hadendoas, who range from the 
Atbara to Suakin. 

Adarama, on the Atbara, about 78 miles above its junction with the Nile, once the headquarters of the redoubtable 
Osman Digna, but now almost deserted, consists of little more than a few tukls, and the walis of the mud houses of 
the Dervish town. 



The following general description of the country between Adarama and Kassala is taken from a report by 
Captain A. C. Parker, who traversed this country in April and May, 1901. 

" Lying to the north of Kassala, and bounded on the east by the range of hills along which the frontier is delimited, 
and on the west by the river Atbara, stretches a vast plain of almost unbroken continuity. 

" From Goz Eegeb to a point on the river west of Kassala the country inland consists of, first, a broad strip of 
cotton soil, sparsely sprinkled with small trees and bushes. To the east of this there occurs a stretch of more or less 
sandy soil, supporting a coarse grass and a few stunted isolated trees until the fertile soil adjoining the Khor El Gash 
is reached. 

" This khor, after passing the town of Kassala and receiving numerous small khors from the east, conveys its 
flood water in a more or less defined channel, or in some places channels, as far as Filik. Along its banks, north of 
Kassala, dom palms are replaced by thick tamarisk or tarfa trees, which continue most of the way to Filik, on nearing 
which they in turn are replaced by talh and other thick thorn scrub. 

" A short distance north of Filik, owing to the extreme flatness of the country, the eastern channel disappears, and 
the water dissipates itself through the soil to a distance varying according to the volume of the flood water, its 
direction being roughly N.N.W. 

" The opinion, still held by some, that the Gash water flows towards the Langeb seems untenable. 

" The Odi plain which receives numerous small khors from the eastern hills is probably about the same level as 
the Gash plain, but there certainly appears to be sufficiently rising ground between, though hardly noticeable, to preclude 
the Gash reaching Odi. 

" From Filik, following the direction of the Gash, the bushes which define its course gradually decrease until they 
become as scattered as in the rest of the plain, and all trace of its direction is lost. 

" The plain still extends northwards, until at a point, said to be not far from Jebel Safra, it receives the waters 
from the Angwatiri and Godamaieb khors, which join here, and probably that of other khors flowing in a south-westerly 
direction from the rocky hills to the north-east. From these hills also many khors start in an easterly and south-easterly 
direction, which finally reach the Odi or the Langeb. 

" From J. Sanai northwards, for some distance the country consists of large ranges of hills, separated by wide valleys, 
containing very often stretches of cotton soil in the wider parts, but close to the hills the ground becomes rocky and 

" From these valleys, the khors, some of which are lined with dom palms, trend in a south-westerly direction, 
but in nearly every case are hemmed in by sand hills, and are thus prevented from reaching the Atbara. The valleys, 
or rather basins, where the final exit is stopped, being usually selected by the Arabs to cultivate. 

" Of these valleys the principal are Hegerib, Todabanob, and Hambokeb. 

" Wells, the locality of which depend largely on the rainy season or local thunderstorms, are fairly plentiful 
throughout the whole of the country traversed by these khors, and supply water for numerous sheep and goats, 
and in some places a few cattle, grazed by Hadendoas of the Gemilab, Haikolab, Amerab, Shebodinab, and other 

" A small party mounted on camels may travel through this country at any time of the year without fear of in- 
convenience from lack of water. After the rains, pools of standing water will be met with in many places. 

" The Gash itself, according to native tradition, has an exit to the Atbara near Adarama, and it is very possible 
that the waters of the northern Gash plain, called by the Arabs Gash Dai, may have a channel meandering through 
the hills formed by the rush of water in exceptional years." 


(6) Kassala. 

Kassala is situated on the right bank of the Khot Gash, 1,735 feet above the sea, and lies 15 miles west of the 
nearest point on the Italian frontier, which is near Sabderat. The twin Jebels, Mokram and Kassala, rise abruptly from 
the plain 3 miles to the east and south-east. The highest of the peculiar dome-shaped protuberances of the latter is 
2,600 feet above the town, and is usually visible at a distance of 60 or 70 miles. There are several perennial springs 
in the mountain. 

Beyond the fort built by the Italians, the barracks, and the various other Government buildings, etc., there are 
few brick buildings in Kassala, as the native part of the town is constructed chiefly of grass tukls. There are two or 
three fair stores kept by Greeks, where most tinned provisions and other small requirements are obtainable, and at 
least one of these is licensed to sell liquor. 

The normal garrison consists of one regular battalion, six (late Italian) 9 cm. Krupp guns, four Nordenfeldt, and four Garrison. 
Gardner machine guns. In addition, there is a battalion of Arab irregulars, recruited locally, chiefly from Beni Amers, 



. Knssala. 

Sheikh £1 







Posts and 

Serut fly. 


Hadendoas, and Abj'ssiniaiis. In consists of 200 men, all of whom are mounted on either camels or mules. This 
battalion rendered good service during the late campaign, and, in peace time at any rate, are by far the most suitable 
troops for this part of the country. They are natural scouts and exceedingly mobile. A considerable number of 
irregulars could be raised here at any time. 

Said AH El Morghani, the youthful head of the Morghani sect whose home is the Khatmia under the north- 
west end of J. Kassala, has now taken up his abode at Omdurman, where, however, he is by no means so generally 
revered as in the Eastern Sudan. Said Ahmed, an elder brother, who was a prisoner during the Mahdia, now acts as 
his representative at Kassala. Said All's ancestors were Ashraf at Mecca, and settled at Kassala at the beginning 
of the last centurj'. 

The popidation of Kassala town in 1900 was 12,000 ; and the whole of the Nomad Arabs in the district were then 
estimated to number 6,000. In 1904, the total population of the town and the Nomads was computed to be 46,000. 
The townspeople are chiefly Halenga Arabs, who are excellent cultivators, also a mixture of Beni Anier, Shukria, 
Takruris, etc. 

The water supph', which is from wells varying from 15 to 30 feet deep, is good and plentiful. 

The principal cultivation is the dura crop, raised on the land flooded* by the Gash. This dura is a large white 
species called " Taidib," and is harvested about January ; it ranks in quality with the best " Mugad " dura of the Nile. 
At present the system of irrigation on the Gash is very primitive and wasteful. An improved scheme in accordance 
with modern ideas is under consideration. f A subsidiary rain crop (Naggad), harvested at the end of October, is also 
raised, but is not of much account. Crops are very liable to the attacks of extraordinary flights of very voracious 
small birds and also locusts. A very destructive species of " blight " occasionally devastates the crops. It is 
known as "El Asal" {Aphis Sorghi, vide "Report of Wellcome Research Laboratories — Gordon College — 1904"). 
The rains are often barely sufficient to raise those crops dependent on them. Gardens irrigated by sagias and wells 
are numerous. 

The rainfall of an average year is very meagre. J During the Kharif, the period from June to October, rain of any 
kind rarely falls on more than 20 to 30 days. On perhaps half a dozen of these there may be very heavy thunderstorms. 
Rain, which almost invariably comes from the east, generally falls between 6 and 8 p.m., and is preceded by a wind 
of hurricane force, which usually brings with it a phenomenal wall of dust several thousand feet high and many miles in 
extent, which often takes an hour or more to blow past, during which time the obscurity and colour of the 
atmosphere reminds one strangely of the thickest of London fogs. 

The climate for eight months of the year, though hot in March, April, and May, when the thermometer not 
infrequently registers over 112° Fahr., is healthy. From July to October there is a good deal of malaria, especially 
during a favourable rainy season. This has been reduced a good deal recently by draining, and precautions against 

The trade at present is not to be compared with that before the Mahdia, but is increasing ; what export trade 
there is, comes from Gedaref. The imports vid Suakin and Massawa are not of much importance at present ; they are 
sugar and Manchester goods principally. By far the largest proportion of imports now comes vid Suakin. 

The camel is the best animal for this district, both for riding and transport purposes. A good camel costs from 
£E.7 to £E.10. They are nearly always available for sale or hire, though in the rains they are not to be found in the 
immediate vicinity of Kassala. 

Horses or mules, which are imported in small numbers from Eritrea or Abyssinia, cannot usually be hired or 
purchased. Horses are liable to be attacked by a species of horse sickness, which often ends fatally. The Abyssinian 
and Dongolawi breeds do best. A good riding mule costs from £E.6 to £E.8. 

There is a weekly camel post for both letters and parcels to and from Berber, also a weekly mail to and from Keren 
and Massawa, also a fortnightly mail to and from Suakin, and a weekly mail to Gedaref and Gallabat. Telegraph 
lines connect with Suakin, Gedaref, Gallabat, Massaua, and Addis Ababa. Communication is liable to occasional 
interruptions during the rains. 

During the "Kharif" the whole country south of the line Kassala-Asubri swarms with a wasp-like "Serut" 
fly, which bursts into Ufe as soon as the young grass has sprouted and dies as the vegetation dries up at the 
end of the rains. This fly is most vehement in its attacks on all animals, including game, but camels suffer the most, 
and if exposed for any length of time to their bites, they raj^idly lose condition, and will probably die from the effects. 

In various parts of the districts, described in Section 4, the following varieties are found : — Elephant, rhinoceros, 
buffalo, giraffe, roan-antelope, kudu, waterbuck, tora hartebeeste, ibex, wild sheep (?), bushbuck (two (?) varieties), 
reedbuck (scarce) ; Abyssinian duiker, oribi, dig-dig, and the following gazelles : — Sommering's, Dorcas, Heuglin's, 

* In 1903, under 2,000 feddans of cultivation were irrigated by the Gasli flood. 

+ Vide Sir W. Oarstiii's " Report on the Basin of the Upper Nile." Foreign Office Blue Book, Kgypt No. 2, 1904. 

I 12-4 inches (1904). 

Khor Gash and South of Kassala to the Setit. 99 

Isabella, and possibly Rufifrons ; also hippopotamus, crocodile, turtle, warthog, pig, wild ass, lion, leopard, hyena 
(two varieties), cheetah, serval ; also various civet and wild cats, hares, wild dogs, baboons, and monkeys ; ostrich, 
bustard, guinea fowl, francolin, sand grouse, geese, snipe, wild fowl, and quail. 
Both rhinoceros and buffalo are rare. 

(c) The Khor Gash.* 

For at least 70 miles above Kassala the Gash has a sandy bed, which averages 100 to 300 yards in width, with strips 
of higher ground, covered with grass, and liable to be flooded in a good year, bordering it at intervals, especially at the 
bends. Outside these again, on what may be called the real banks, is an almost continuous fringe of dom palms and 
high grass, varying from 100 to 500 yards, and occasionally nearly a mile, in width. There is no definite track parallel 
to the khor on either bank, but the going on both banks outside the belt of dom palms is good. If desired, the bed 
of the Gash may be followed, though rather heavy-going, and corners may be cut off occasionally. 

Year after year, in the dry season, water is found in certain well-known localities, usually 2 or 3 miles apart. The 
depth of the wells, which are revetted with brushwood, varies, according to the season and the flood, from 5 to 20 feet. 
The cattle and sheep are watered usually every alternate day from large mud basins (duruk), two or three of which 
are constructed near each well. There are nowadays no places between Kassala and Todluk where water stands in 
pools for any considerable time after the flood has subsided, as it is said to have done formerly at Saneit,f where, 
however, water is still found very close to the surface. 

The Gash flood usually reaches Kassala during the first week in July, and brings down with it numerous fish, which 
are eagerly caught by the natives. It ceases to flow about the end of September or beginning of October. During the 
period when it is in flood it is occasionally unfordable for several days together. The Gash, like the Atbara, brings 
down a large amount of fertilising matter from Abyssinia. The discharge of the Gash in flood is estimated at about 
100 metres cube per sec. 

There are no permanent inhabitants living on the Gash, but in the dry season, thousands of Beni Amer cattle 
and sheep, and nearer Todluk, those of the Baria, are brought to it south of Kassala for pasture and water. 

Many of the Beni Amer, Baria, and Baza in Italian territory, all of whom are bitter enemies of the Abyssinians, 
may be met openly carrying Remington rifles. 

North of Kassala the people, watering from the Gash, are principally Hadendoas. For description of Gash, north 
of Kassala, vide p. 97. 

[d) Country South of Kassala to the Setit. 

South of Kassala a flat and, except for the Gash, waterless plain, bounded on the east and south-east by the 
Eritrean hills from Sabderat to Sogada, extends to the river Setit. The whole of this plain is more or less covered 
with kittr and other thorn bush, which becomes particularly dense towards its southern and western extremities. 
With the exception of the Nomads living during the dry season on the banks of the Gash and Atbara and the few 
Hamrans on the Setit, the entire country is uninhabited. 

Though a good deal of the country south of Abu Gamal is drained by several khors, chief of which are Gersat 
and Gullui which, having their origin in the Sogada hills, or even further east, join the Atbara at Khashm El Girba, 
nevertheless, the ground, being cotton soil, becomes at intervals in the rainy season boggy, and practically impassable, 
and water stands in ponds at several places, notably Umsiteiba and Mellawiya, on the roads from Kassala to Asubri 
and Fasher. At this season, too, most of the country is covered with tall rank grass, and travelling even along the 
roads is a thing to be avoided. 

There is a perennial spring on Jebel Abu Gamal, 18 miles south of Kassala, from where there used to be a road, now 
overgrown with bush, via this Jebel to Um Hagar on the Setit. J A scanty water supply is sometimes obtainable from 
holes in the rock of Koraitib, 47 miles south of Abu Gamal. 

{e) Country South of R. Setit. 

Sudan territory, south of the Setit, bounded on the west by the Atbara, and on the east and south by the Abyssinian Inhabitants, 
frontier, running from the mouth of the Khor Royan (a tributary of the Setit) to a point opposite the Khor Abnakheir 
(a tributary of the Atbara), near Gallabat, is uninhabited, save for the one village of Gadabi, about 25 miles north of 

* Vidii Sir W. Gar.stin'a " Report on the Ba.siu of the Upper Nile.' Foreign OflBce Blue Book, Egypt No i, 1904. 

+ Vidv " Wild Tribes of the Sudan " — James. 

+ A road is now (1904) being cut from Kassala vid Abu Gatnal to Unibrega on the R. Setit. 


Sefit and Athara Rivers, etc. 

of country. 




Gallabat. The people living at this village are Takruris. The village of Nogara, which lies 10 miles S.S.E. from J. 
Lukdi, belongs to Abyssinia, and is under Dejaj Gasessa (1904). Many of its inhabitants were formerly under Mek Nimr, 
and are a mixture Jaalin, Takruris, and Sudanese, the majority of whom are said to be robbers and runaway slaves. 

The country bordering the Setit to as far south as J. Lukdi belongs to the Hamrans, south of them the country, 
including the Bahr El Salam, belongs to the Debania, and further south again the country, including Gadabi, belongs to 
the Takruris, of Gallabat. 

Between the Setit and the Bahr El Salam rivers the country is flat and waterless, and its surface is badly cracked, 
cotton soil, overgrown with high grass, and generally wooded, but with here and there wide open spaces. South of the 
Bahr El Salam, though the trees, grass, and soil continue much the same, the Abyssinian foot hills approach nearer 
to the Atbara and the ground becomes more undulating and intersected by khors, in some of which, though chiefly 
in the extreme south, water stands throughout the year. 

As the inhabitants are few, roads are proportionately little used, and consequently bad and overgrown. Off the 
track, the going is execrable, and grass, bush, and cotton soil make the following of game paths a necessity. 

All roads lead to Nogara, the asylum for illegitimate hunters and renegade blacks from the Sudan. They are : 
(1) Gedaref to Nogara (70 miles, approximate), vv( Sofi, Geif El Hamara (on Setit), and J. Lukdi. About 25 miles 
without water between the two latter places. At Lukdi, a large well, filled with sand, requires cleaning out ; now (1904) 
only contains rain water for a few months. 

(2) Um Hagar (on Setit) to Nogara (38 miles). Water comparatively plentiful up to December, after that only 
obtainable by digging in bed of Khor Royan and Khor Bowal (17 miles interval). The Italians hope this road will 
be a trade route from Abyssinia into Eritrea. With this object in view a road has been cut by them from the Khor 
Gash to Um Hagar. 

(3) Abu Gulud to Nogara, viA Abu Siteib (50 miles). Water at Tabarakalla (17 miles), also Atbara, Abu Siteib, 
Bahr El Salam. 

(4) Nogara to Gallabat (83 miles), via Abu Siteib, Khor El Dom, Gadabi, and Um Sai. Water plentiful in December, 
probably scarce between Abu Siteib and Gadabi (37 miles) later. Very little used and much overgrown. 

Honey and gum are practically the only products of this country. A good deal of game still exists, but it has 
suffered both from the depredations of cattle plague, as well as from professional game dealers with their parties of armed 
natives who have hunted this district for years : these are now rigidly excluded by the Sudan Government. The 
inhabitants of Nogara are also mostly armed with modern breechloading rifles. 

Two Abyssinian outlaws have haunted this region both during and since the Mahdia. One, whose name is Hakos,* 
reputed to have some 150 rifles, has lately (1902) been actively raiding villages along our frontier. Kidana Miriam, 
the other brigand chief, has remained comparatively inactive, and is now (March, 1903), reported to be on the Upper 
Bahr El Salam or Angareb with 50 to 200 rifles. 

(/) The AxBARAf and Tributaries. 

The Atbara. — The Atbara rises near Chelga in Abyssinia, where it is known as the R. Goang. Coal is found in 
the valley of the Goang near its source. Both the Atbara and Setit in their course through the Sudan flow for the 
most part through a flat alluvial plain, and have cut for themselves a deep channel, which is, in the upper reaches 
of the Atbara at any rate, over 1.50 feet below the level of the plain. The banks, too, have been washed away by the 
drainage from either side and are cut up into numerous ravines and khors for several miles on either side of the 
actual bed. 

Thus it is that the banks of the Atbara from Gallabat, to a point 15 miles north of Goz Regeb, are so intersected 
with ravines and watercourses, that it is seldom possible to march within 2 or 3 miles of the river, which is only 
approached at intervals. At Gallabat the width of the bed, which is generally shingle, and in which during the dry 
season the water stands in pools as it does throughout its course from here to the Nile, varies from a minimum of 
twenty yards at a spot where the river passes through perpendicular cliffs of rock to an average width of 100 to 150 

At Asubri the width between the banks, which are some 15 to 30 feet high, is about 350 yards. 

At Gallabat (1899) the spate commenced to come down on 17th May, and the river was still just fordable at 
Fasher in the same year on the 15th June ; after about that date it does not again become fordable until the 
beginning or middle of November. The flood water reaches the Nile about the end of June. 

There are usually ferries at Sofi, Fasher, Suweihil (near Asubri), and Goz Regeb during the flood season. 

South of Sofi a road leads up the left bank to Gallabat. 

♦ Hakos is reported to have been killed on the Abyssinian siJe of the frontier, December, 1903, whilst Kidana Miriam apijears 
to have settled down in Abyssinian territory. 

r Vide Sir W. Garstin's " Repjort on the Basin of the Upper Nile." Foreign Office Blue Book, Egypt No. 2, 1!)04. 

Setit and Atlara Hirers, etc. 101 

North of Sofi, which is on the left bank near the junction of the Setit, roads run parallel with the river on both 
banks, that most generally used being from Sofi to Asubri by the left bank, thence to the Nile by the right bank. The 
country from the Setit to Fasher (right bank) belonged formerly to the Hamrans ; it is now practically uninhabited 
except by Nomads during the dry season. Fasher to Mitateb (right bank) belongs to the Hadendoas, who go there 
in large numbers for grazing during the dry season. Their country practically extends from the Atbara to Suakin. 
From Mitateb (right bank) and Goz Regeb (left bank) to the Nile the country belongs to the Bisharin. From a point 
about 50 miles south of Adarama northwards to the Nile the banks are fringed with dom palms. Few people live 
along the river during the rains, and though the alluvial soil brought down by this river is one of the chief fertilizing 
agents of Egypt, there is at no season any system of irrigation in use along it. Here and there where nature causes 
the river to overflow its banks a certain amount of cultivation may be met. 

Tributaries of the Atbara. — These nearly all emanate from the hilly country of Abyssinia or Eritrea. There 
are none of importance on the left bank in the Sudan. 

(1) The Bahr El Salam and Angareb. — The Bahr El Salam is a flowing stream during most of the year. Its 
bed is very rocky, and in places the bends are extremely sharp as it cuts its way through high cliffs of rock. It has 
many deep pools with hippopotamus and crocodiles, and appears to often overflow its banks in flood time in places 
where it passes through these narrow gorges. It has generally a north-westerly direction. The River Angareb appears 
to be only another name for the upper Bahr El Salam. The Bahr El Salam joins the Atbara on the R.B. about 
28 miles south of Sofi. 

(2) The Setit* and Royan. — The lower Setit, i.e., that portion of it which flows through Sudan territory, 
much resembles the upper Atbara in general character. Its banks are similarly intersected by ravines and small 
khors which carry the drainage from the plateau along which on either bank there is a track at some distance 
from the river, and which only descends to it occasionally. The river is generally about 309 yards wide, and during 
the dry season it is fordable at frequent intervals, and here and there almost ceases to flow.f 

The only inhabitants of the Setit, west of the junction of K. Royan are the survivors of the once famous 
Hamran sword-hunters, who live in a small village on the right bank about 15 miles from its junction with the 
Atbara. Although now very poor and with their hunting to a certain extent restricted by the Game Laws, they have 
nearly all acquired horses and are as bold and keen Nimrods as ever. Latterly, many of the Beni Amer Arabs from 
Eritrea have brought their flocks for pasturage to the banks of the Setit during the dry season. 

Above Umbrega there was no track on the right bank in March 1900, as the Abyssinian Baza, living east of 
Maietib, were said to terrorise the country. There is now (1904) a fairly good track made by the Italians who have 
a small post at Um Hagar. 

In Abyssinia the Setit is known as the Takazze. 

The junction of the Royan and Setit is about 4 miles east of Khor Umbrega. The Royan appears to be merely 
a khor which is dry, except for occasional pools, a few months after the cessation of the rains. Its junction marks 
the boundary on the Setit between the Sudan and Eritrea on the north bank, and Abyssinia on the south bank. 

* Vid<; " Nile Tributaries of Aby.ssinia" (Baker), and " Wild Tribes of the Sudan " (James). 

+ Mr. P. ( '. Waite (Scottish Geographical Magazine) gives the length of the Setit as 800 miles, and ils flood discharge (at 
onth ?) as more tlian 4,.500 metres cube per second. Sir W. Garstin estimates the maximum discliarge of the Atbara at its mouth 
• be about 3,000-4,000 metres cube per second. The discharge of the Setit is, therefore, evidently considerably over-estimated. 

P 2 




(Country between the Nile and Abyssinia, bounded by the Atbara and the Blue Nile.) 

Section 1. — Country between the Atbara and the Niles — from El Damer Southwards to Abu 

Haraz-Sofi Line. 

El Karaba 
and Sharg El 

The vast tract of country from the junction of the Atbara with the Nile southwards to about the line Abu Haraz- General 
Sofi, bounded on the east and west by these rivers, and on the south-west by the Blue Nile, has been generally called by description, 
cartographers "the Island of Meroe" ; this name in reality, however, has long ceased to be applied to it locally, and is 
quite unknown to the Arabs of the present day. By the latter it is divided into four districts. The northern one, 
forming the triangle El Damer, Adarama, Shendi, is called El Daheira (the high stony ground). The western district, 
including Shendi, Halfaya, Geili, and Abu Deleig, is known as El Karaba ; south and south-east of this the country 
north of the Blue Nile from Khartoum North to Abu Haraz is called Sharg El Adeik ; whilst the whole of the eastern 
portion from Adarama southwards, bounded on the west byUm Hatab, El Hawad, Geili, and Galaat Arang, forms the well- 
known El Butana grazing district. 

The northern or El Daheira district is, as its name denotes, a sandstone plateau generally bare, level, and desert- gi Daheira. 
like. On the west, there are considerable ranges of sandstone hills. The soil, which is more sandy than further south, 
is, as a rule, poor and unfertile, except in the wadis, a few of which are usually cultivated in favourable years, and 
are generally marked by stunted selem and kittr bush. Further south, in the El Karaba and Sharg El Adeik districts, 
there is much more land suitable for cultivation, though even here it is generally seen in the wadis only, notwithstanding 
that the rainfall is markedly heavier. Selem, kittr, samr, sayal, and tundub trees grow plentifully, though they are 
rarely thick enough to obstruct free passage through them, and homra and maheirib grass are everywhere to be met. 
In the two last-named districts wells are comparatively numerous, though often excessively deep, occasionally as much 
as 250 feet, and the water rather salt. 

In El Karaba, saltworks are frequently seen. Hafirs or tanks for holding up rain water, many of which arc said 
to have been made by the ancients, are here particularly numerous compared to other parts of the Sudan, and 
are quite a distinctive characteristic of this part of the country. 

The region known as " El Butana " is wonderfully open and flat, indeed, so much so, that, as a rule, not a single 
tree or bush is visible for miles, except along an occasional wadi. These, as a rule, drain northwards, and, as elsewhere 
in this part of the country, are usually the localities selected for cultivation, though the soil, generally speaking, is here 
richer than in the other districts. 

The great product of El Butana is, however, Hantut grass and Siha plant, both particularly good for camels, and 
thus during the rains it was, and is still to a lesser extent, customary for camel-owning Arabs from all parts of the 
Sudan to visit this district for grazing. Water at this time of year, being comparatively plentiful, the Arabs are not tied 
down to the very limited number of wells existing in the dry season, and are thus free to wander far and wide wherever 
it suits them. A month or two after the cessation of the rains the grass becomes dry, weather-beaten, and broken, 
and the greater part of this region is then bare and desolate. 

Though the Shukria are probably the rightful owners of this district, yet the Debania (Gedaref), Abu Rof, Kenana, 
Kawahla (Blue Nile), and other tribes were always accustomed to graze here gratuitously, though without, it seems, 
the permission of the owners, who apparently were not strong enough to effectively resist this invasion. An arrange- 
ment has now been made by the Government assigning specified areas to the various tribes for grazing purposes. 

The principal localities, and, in fact, the only known wells where the Nomad Arabs congregate during the dry Wells, 
season, are given below. At all these places the Arabs live by families in small groups of dom-mat tents. 

I. Um Hatab. — About 30 mUes east of Kabushia, 10 wells, 36 feet deep, less in the rains. Arabs here are Fadnia, 
Kawahla, and .Jaalin, under Sheikh Mohammed Suleiman. Belongs to Shendi District of Berber Province. Last wells 
on road from Gedaref to El Damer. It is just outside the north-west limits of El Butana. 

El Butana. 


Vellii ill El Bidana, dc. 


Herds, etc. 




II. Um Shedida. — Some 30 miles east of Urn Hatab. 30 wells, 36 feet deep. Arabs and Sheikh same as 
Um Hatab, belong to Berber province. Situate in north of El Butana. 

III. BiR Amb.\s.\. — Between Abu Deleig and Um Hatab, is said to be 300 feet deep, water plentiful. However, 
no Arabs live here, presumably on account of the great depth of well and consequent labour in drawing water. It 
is said to have been dug by the Ancients (infidels), and to have inscriptions on it, though this appears open to doubt. 

Bir Geheid about 20 miles east of Ambasa and on the eastern side of El Hawad — a very large well, 30 feet in 
diameter and 330 feet deep. No water at present and well partially filled in. Said also to have been built by the 

IV. Debb.\ghat. — 16 wells, 60 feet deep, in Khor Jegjegi. Lies about 6 miles E.N.E. from Abu Deleig. Arabs, 
Jaalin, Ahamda, Batahin, under Hassan Nimr, a sub-Sheikh under Mohammed Suleiman. It belongs to Berber Province. 

V. IsNABiR. — 23 miles east of Abu Deleig, on road from Goz Regeb to that place. Arabs, Batahin, under Sheikh 
Mohammed Talha, belonging to Gezira Province. Wells contained little water in April, 1900. 

VI. Abu Deleig.^-^4 miles by road E.N.E. from Khartoum. 50 wells, .30 to 70 feet deep, extending for some 
miles in the Wadi Jegjegi. Headquarters of the Batahin and residence of Sheikh Mohammed Talha. Other tribes here 
are Mogharba, Hassania, Jaalin, etc. 

Abu Deleig belongs to Gezira Province, and there is a Mamur, Police Officer, and Police Post here. 

Up to February, 1898, Abu Deleig was always held by a Dervish force, latterly under the command of Abd El Rahim 
Wad Abu Dugal. This post was surprised by Irregulars from Kassala in February, 1898, who in turn, however, were 
themselves surprised on their way back to Kassala and suffered severely. 

VII. Geili. — About 25 miles due south of Abu Deleig. About .30 wells, 100 to 150 feet deep, situated around a 
flat topped granite hill about 250 feet high, on the summit of which is the tomb of Bint El Mek, a daughter of one 
of the Fung kings and wife of one of the early Shukria sheikhs. Arabs, Batahin and Mogharba, belonging to Gezira 
Province. There are ancient carvings here on the south side of the hill. {Vide also " Route Report Khartoum North 
to Kassala " Vol. II, Chap. IV). 

VIII. Um Rueishid. — 50 miles south-east of Abu Deleig on the road from Kassala to Khartoum, three wells, 100 feet 
deep in the dry season. They are the westernmost wells in the Kassala Province. Arabs Shukria, Mogharba, and 
Awaida, under Shiekh Ali Wad El Had. 

IX. El Geleita. — 12 miles north of Um Rueishid, on Goz Regeb-Abu Deleig road. Eight wells, 70 feet deep, 
water plentiful, Arabs mostly Shukria. Belongs to Kassala Province. 

X. Shag (El Walia). — 12 miles east of El Geleita, first water after leaving Goz Regeb, on Abu Deleig road. Four 
wells, 70 to 100 feet deep. Inhabitants chiefly Shukria, few Mogharba, etc. Belongs to Kassala Province. 

XI. El Sofeiya. — 72 miles rather north of west from Asubri. 20 wells, 100 feet deep, water plentiful. Arabs 
same as at Um Rueishid. Residence of Ahmed Mohammed Abu Sin, wakil of Head Sheikh of Shukria in the Kassala 

XII. Rera. — About 10 miles south of El Sofeiya, 10 wells, 100 feet deep. In the eastern and highest ridge, of 
which there are several close by, there are two or three rock tanks containing water. Arabs, Shukria, Mogharba, Awaida, 
etc., under Ali Wad El Had, of Kassala Province. 48 miles south of Rera is the well of El Adeid a few miles south 
of J. Tawal. Water is scarce in the dry season, and only a few Shukria are found here. 

XIII. El Sadda. — 22 miles south-east of Rera, 20 wells, 90 feet deep, J mile west of south end of J. El Sadda, a 
low ridge running north and south ; Arabs and sheikh same as at Rera. From here a road leads to Gedaref, which 
lies about 90 miles S.S.E. No water on the road except during rains at Hafir El Igl. 

The Arabs cultivate considerably in favourable years, when dura can be purchased at PT.25, or even less per ardeb. 
As before stated, the wadis known locally as " Atmurs " are the localities selected for cultivation ; the chief of these 
being El Hawad (12 miles east of Abu Deleig), which extends probably some distance to the south, and northwards 
it trends towards the Nile at Kabushia. It receives the water of Khor Jegjegi. " Hemeisi " and " Feterita " dura 
are the crops most generally grown. 

All these Arabs own large numbers of sheep and goats, but cattle and camels are now comparatively scarce, 
owing to the depredations of the Dervishes. The Shukria camels are remarkable for their size and carrying capacity, 
but are not, as a rule, suitable for fast work. 

Along the left bank of the Atbara, from El Damer to Goz Regeb, the Arabs are chiefly Nomad Bisharin and Jaalin. 
There are few permanent villages south of Adarama. 

Amid the ruins of Goz Regeb live the few survivors of the former inhabitants under Sheikh Gaff a Ageil. South of 
Goz Regeb are Shukria, under Amara Abu Sin, who has a permanent village at Gandaua, a few miles north of Asubri. 

In the neghbourhood of Fasher are the Lahawin, a tribe which formerly belonged to the White Nile. 

Along the Nile (right bank), from El Damer to Khartoum North, there is a considerable and much mixed 


EL Darner, Shewii, etc. 105 

riverain population, for the most part living in mud-built villages, and cultivating with both sagias and shadufs. The 
chief tribes are Jaalin, Ababda, Shaigia, Hassania, Mogharba, Aonia, etc. 

El Damer. — Population about 700 ; Jaalin, etc. This town was formerly famous for its University and learning. Villages on 
It suffered much during the Mahdia, but its population and prosperity is now rapidly increasing, and there is quite a ^n^rf!''*'' 
good market; principal trade, dom-mats, baskets, etc., and salt. A few caravans come here direct from Gedaref. There 
is a railway station here. It will be the capital of the Berber Province in 1905. 

Kabushia. — 26 miles down the river from Shendi. Population about 250, Shaigia and Jaalin ; Awaida, Aliab, and 
Fadnia Nomads come here for grazing and cultivation. There is a comparatively large market. 

The ruins of the ancient Meroe are situated about 4 miles to the north, and there are traces of an old temple at 
El Bagarawia. There are 25 pyramids (Tarabil) about 5 miles north-east. Some of these pyramids were examined 
in 1903, but little of interest was discovered. (Vide Appendix D.) 

Shendi. — Population about 500, majority Shaigia and a few Jaalin also Nafiab, Awaida, and Ababda. Headquarters 
of the Egyptian Cavalry: four squadrons, also one field artillery battery. Railway workshops and good railway station. 
Headquarters of Shendi District and residence of a British Inspector, Mamur, etc. Post and telegraph offices. 
Excellent climate. Houses of mud. There is a good market, but not to be compared with that of former days, when 
Shendi was an important place and had 7,000 inhabitants. The town was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of 
Meroe, and is said by some to have been the residence of the Queen of Sheba. Bruce says the women of Shendi 
were noted as being the most beautiful in the Sudan. It was here that Ismail Pasha, son of Mohammed AH, 
Khedive of Egypt, was burnt in his hut by Mek Nimr, in 1822, in revenge for his barbarities. To avenge Ismail's 
death the town and inhabitants were destroyed in 1823 by order of Mohammed Ali. The Nimr family are now in poor 

There is excellent grazing along the banks of the river at almost all seasons of the year. 

Shendi was occupied by Major T. Hickman with the 15th Egyptian Battalion on 26th March, 1898, after a short 

Government steam engines have been erected here with a view to cultivation by the Supply Department 
of the Army. The natives here have learnt to appreciate such agricultural implements as iron sagias and ploughs 
of English pattern, and are anxious to acquire them. 

Wad Ban Naga. — There is a railway station here about 24 miles from Shendi. Sauarab and Aonia Arabs, and 
others, such as Deshiab Batahin, Ababda, and Hassania, come here for grazing. It belongs to the Shendi District, of the 
Berber Province. For the antiquities in the neighbourhood vide Appendix D. 

Geili. — Situated on right bank of Nile, 28 miles north of Khartoum North, is the residence of Zubeir Pasha and his 
following, who belong mostly to the Gemaab tribe, a branch of the Jaalin. There are also Batahin and Hassania here. 
There is a railway station at Wad Ramla, IJ miles to the north. 

Khartoum North. — On the right bank of the Blue Nile immediately opposite Khartoum. The name applies to Villages on 
several small detached villages, such as Gubbat Khojali, Hellet Hamad, etc. The inhabitants consists of Jaalin, ^\*j ro v ■, 
Shaigia, Mahas, Mogharba, Khojalab, etc., under Omda Mohammed Osman Ibrahim. (For description see Chap. II, 
p. 49.) 

Eilafun. — On right bank Blue Nile, 19J miles by road from Khartoum. A very neatly-kept village of Mahas and 
Shaigia, under Omda Mohammed Abd El Kader. It belongs to Kamlin district of Gezira Province. There is a 
mosque here, as to the Khalifaship of which there are frequent squabbles. 

Ibout 7 miles east of Eilafun is the village of Um Dibban, the abode of the three brothers, sons of the famous 
religious Sheikh El Obeid, the powerful and fanatical Mahdist leader who defeated Mohammed Ali Pasha at Um Dibban 
in September, 1884, and who was the first Dervish Commander to besiege Khartoum. They have a private mosque 
here, and though primarily a religiou.s famOy, they aspire to considerable temporal power. 

RuFA_\. — Situated on the right bank of Blue Nile, 95 miles by land, by river 104 miles, from Khartoum. The 
population of the town and surrounding district numbers 30,000, and is mainly composed of Shukria Arabs. Others 
are Batahin, Sherafa, Jaalin, Mogharba, etc. There is one Greek trader here who carried on business here throughout 
the Mahdia. The houses are mostly grass tukls. No post or telegraph office. Nearest is at Kamlin 


Route reports referring to the principal caravan routes are given in Vol. II, Chap. IV. There is also a caravan 
route from Gedaref, vid El Sadda, Rera, Abu Deleig, and Um Hatab to El Damer. Caravans, however, usually strike 
the Nile at Kabushia after leaving Um Hatab. From Kabushia a track leads due east to Adarama. 



Section 2.— Gedaref and District. 


Practically the whole of the region enclosed between the Rivers Rahad and Atbara from a point some miles 
north of the town of Gedaref, southwards to Khor Seraf Said on the Gallabat road, an area containing more than 
11,000 square miles, is comprised in the Gedaref District. This large tract of country, like other parts of the Sudan, is 
now greatly under populated. The inhabitants of the district are estimated at about 25,000 (1904). 

The whole of the northern portion of this area is generally flat and open and devoid of bush, but here and there, 
particularly to north-east and south of the town of Gedaref, it is undidating and rather hilly. As these hills extend 
further south, the whole country becomes gradually enveloped in forest, which, though it yields a good deal of gum, 
is practically uninhabited, waterless, and for the most part unexplored, and bears few signs of former inhabitants. 

In the rains, the surface of the ground, whether open or forest, is covered with grass 3 to 5 feet, and in places 15 feet, 
in height, which, until burnt, is exceedingly annoying to the traveller, should he be on foot or riding a mule or a donkey. 

Generally speaking, the whole country is fertile, and only needs inhabitants and a minimum of labour to render 
it reproductive ; water, though now scarce, would probably not prove to be an insuperable difficulty. 

In pre-Mahdist days, Gedaref and district, including the old Gedaref or Suk Abu Sin, was a fertile and populous 
spot. Its cornfields supplied a large portion of the Sudan, both to the north and west, and it was, in short, 
prosperous. It was devastated by the Dervishes in 1885, and the garrison captured. Abu Anga and later Ahmed Fedil 
were appointed Emir of the district. In 1898, it was seized by a small column from Kassala under Colonel Parsons, 
after a hazardous and successful fight, a few miles outside the town, and though subsequently twice attacked by 
Ahmed Fedil, held its own until relieved by a force from the Nile. {Vide p. 267.) 

Gedaref Town. 

The town of Gedaref is situated partly on an under-feature emanating from some low hills, rather more than 
100 feet high, half-a-mile to the east, and partly on the plain which lies below the general level of the surrounding 
country on three sides, and on the fourth, slopes away very gradually westwards. 

This plain, which extends for some miles in all directions, especially to the west and north-west, is devoid of trees 
of any description, and being practically all rich black cotton soil, there is really an almost unlimited extent of land 
available for cultivation during the rains. 

The quasi-European quarter of the town consists of one street of shops, built of brick, about 200 yards long, 
and, with the exception of a few other brick houses and the Government buildings, the whole of the remainder of the 
town consists of grass tukls. 
-Pj^jj, The principal traders are Greeks, but these are few, and so far trade has not reached the expectations formed of 

it, owing chiefly to want of railway communication with thi'* part of the Sudan. 

There is a fair gum trade, but the quality of Hashab is hardly equal to that of Kordofan. Otherwise, besides the 
usual imports, consisting of cotton goods, sugar, etc., and the export of a certain amount of dura, dukhn, and simsim, and 
coffee from Gallabat, into other districts of the Sudan, trade at present has not reached large proportions, but is 

It is a notable fact that in the Eastern Sudan a well-to-do native never travels without his coffee, after imbibing 
which he professes to be ready for anything ; in the Gezira and Kordofan, coffee does not seem to be nearly so 
generally drunk. 

There is a little trade with Walkait, vid the Setit, but this at present is insignificant. 

The inhabitants of Gedaref, estima tedin 1 904 at 5,500 souls, are a heterogeneous collection of Shukria, Debania, 
Takruris, and every kind of black. The Baggaras sent here to colonise after their defeat at Omdurman have now 
mostly been disseminated in the district, and what Abyssinians were originally found here have for the most part 
returned to their homes. 

The old name of the town, " Suk Abu Sin," is now inapplicable, as the Sliukria have so decreased in numbers 

and wealth during the Mahdia as to be comparatively insignificant. Abu Sin is the family name of the leading Shukria 


Water The water supply is from wells partly cut through rock ; it is good but not plentiful. Efforts are being made to 

"ipp'y- improve the supply. 

Garrison. The garrison usually consists of one company of the Sudanese battalion at Kassala, which also furnishes a 


Gedaref and Gallahat. 


detachment at Gallabat. There is always an Egyptian Mamur present, and usually a British Inspector for at least 
six months in the year. In addition, there is generally a small deatchment of the Arab battalion here. 

There are many excellent gardens, growing the usual Sudan vegetables, and in addition, figs, limes, custard apples, Cultivation, 
and dates ; the latter are remarkable in that the trees bear two separate crops during the year. 

As above-mentioned, a rain-crop of dura, dukhn, simsim, etc., is very extensively cultivated on the surrounding 
fertile plain ; a certain amount of cotton is also grown for local use; this, and the cereals, are capable of considerable 
development ; but this must await the advent of a railway. It should, however, be borne in mind that rain-watered 
cotton does not produce so fine a staple as that grown on irrigated land. All cotton grown here finds a ready sale at 
Gallabat to the Abyssinians. 

The characteristic dura of Gedaref is a red species called " Kurgi," which produces a very white flour. There 
is very little " Naggad " or early dura sown ; its place is taken by dukhn, which, with simsim, is harvested at the 
end of October, whereas the " Kurgi " is not ripe until February. Simsim, or Sesame, as a rule does particularly 
well in this district. As all crops are dependent on the rainfall, they naturally vary considerably and in direct accordance 
with it. In 1899 they were almost a complete failure. The crops were attacked in 1902-03 by a disease called " Asal," 
a species of blight, so called as it produces a formation strongly resembling honey (Arabic " Asal ").* 

The rains begin in June and last on till October. f As the surrounding country is cotton soil, dust does not precede Rains. 
the storms as at Kassala, but judging from the dilapidated appearance of the town, when revisited on their cessation, 
the rainfall must be considerable in a favourable year. 

Unless actually seen, it is difficult to picture the difference between Gedaref before and Gedaref immediately after 
the rains. By May, the surface of the ground surrounding the houses and environs of the town has become clean and 
bare, and many of the grass tukls have been rebuilt and appear almost toy-like, so spick and span are they. How- 
ever, in October the whole place has the appearance of a wreck, houses are tumbling down, the neat new tukls 
are discoloured and distorted, and every square foot of ground, right up to the houses, not already planted with dura, 
at this time fully 12 feet high, is overgrown with the rankest of tall Aada grass, which is even higher, and through which 
the by-streets of the town are mere tunnels little more than 2 feet wide, and along which it is difficult to find one's 
way about without a guide. J 

At this season (September and early October) there is a good deal of malar'al fever in a year of good rainfall. Climate. 
The natives of 1 he place seem to some extent inoculated with it, though those from the more northern districts are 
readily affected. 

From December to May the climate is perfectly healthy. 

There is no building wood, and little fire wood within 1.5 to 20 miles. Wood. 

There is a post and telegraph office, and a weekly camel post to Kassala, Gallabat, and Wad Medani. Telegraph also Posts and 
connects with these places. telegraphs. 

As the serut fly is present at Gedaref during the rains, all camels are removed about the end of May, and other animals Serut fly. 
are kept in tukls as far as possible. 

In the dry weather camels are the best transport, both for travelling along the roads or going across country Transport 
I over the cotton soil, should it be necessary, but, in the latter case, they will sooner or later suffer from sore feet. animals. 

Limited numbers of camels are obtainable for hire or purchase during the winter months. Mules are only 
occasionally brought here. As many as .50 donkeys can usually be bought without much difficulty, price £E.2 to £E.3. 
[ The little Abyssinian donkey, price about £E.2, which is the best for that country, is also generally procurable. 

Ariel, gazelle, bustard, quail, and a few snipe and teal are to be found in the neighbourhood at certain seasons. Game. 
; For game in other parts of this district, vide under Gallabat. 

Beyond Gedaref itself and the villages in its neighbourhood there are few others worth mentioning. Sofi, on the "Villages. 
f Atbara, is a largish Jaalin village under Sheikh Taib El Nimr. It was here that Sir Samuel and Lady Baker spent 
the rains of 1869 {vide -'Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia "). 

At Abu Gulud, between Sofi and Doka, and other villages in this neighbourhood a large quantity of grain is 
usually grown. Asar is the headquarters of the Debania tribe, now much reduced in numbers, and the residence of their 
I Nazir Sheikh Wad Zaid. 

On the Rahad the principal villages are Mafasa and Hawata. The former is the headquarters of the Mamur 
lof this (Radah) district. Upstream of Hawata there are few inhabitants at present. 

Section 3. — Gallabat and District. 
The comparatively small area (about 1,200 square miles) bounded on the west by the River Rahad, on the north Geaeral. 
by Khor Seraf Said, the southern boundary of Gedaref Province, and on the east and south by the Abyssinian 

* Vule p. 98. 

t Totiil rainfall, January — October, 1904, 2.3' 1 inches. 

X This description refers to (he ►tate of Gedaref up to the end of 1899. 

Conditions have now improved. 








frontier, comprises the district of Gallabat. Practically the whole of this region is thickly wooded with talh, sofEar, 
ebony, silag, ardeib, hashab, baobab, bamboo, and other trees, of which some attain considerable size ; the central and 
south eastern portions are hilly, as is Gadabi and some of the country to the east of the Atbara.* In the vicinity of 
the town of Gallabat there are perennial streams of running water, but the greater part of the province is dependent 
on wells for its water supply. 

Gallabat town, called by the Abyssinians Matemma, is situated at the foot of a steep slope on the left bank of 
the Khor Abnaheir, which here constitutes the boundary with Abyssinia, and is about 5 miles from the Atbara which 
flows to the north and north-east. 

The town has for a very long time been considered as forming an important trade centre on the Sudan- Abyssinian 
frontier, and the latter people used to lay claim to it. It was in consequence an almost constant source of feuds 
and fighting during the greater part of the last century between the Abyssinians and the Turks, and later with the 
Dervishes. It was formerly celebrated for its slave mart, and drove a prosperous trade. {Vide " Cradle of the 
Blue Nile," vol. 2, p. 168.) 

It was attacked by the Dervishes under Zeki Tumal in 1886, and sacked. Three years later King John of Abyssinia, 
burning with fury at the sack of Gondar by the Mahdists, collected his warriors and fought a tremendous battle here, 
with, it is asserted, 80,000 to 100,000 on either side, on 9th March, 1889. The Abyssinians, who outnumbered the 
Dervishes, at first were successful, but just as the Dervishes, on the following day, were giving way on all sides a stray 
shot wounded and subsequently killed King John. This completely reversed the situation, and the Abyssinians turned 
and fled {vide p. 258.) 

Its occupation by the Dervishes naturally resulted in the ruin of its trade, and this is only now beginning to revive. 

Robbers are, however, rife inside the Abyssinian frontier, and owing to that and other reasons, the revival is slow. 

The Anglo-Egyptian flags were hoisted at Gallabat on 7th December, 1898, by Colonel CoUinson, C.B. The 
Abyssinian flag was then already fl)ang on the fort. 

Gallabat is said, before the Mahdia, to have been a comparatively large and busy trade centre. Looking at it now, 
it is difficult to believe that it can ever regain its pristine wealth and importance. The town, such as it is, with the 
exception of the Zabtia, etc., is built entirely of grass tukls. On the top of the slope overlooking the town there still 
remains the old Dervish fort built by Zeki Tumal. From here a very fine view is obtained away to the hills beyond 
the Atbara, and on a clear day one can see the mountains surrounding Lake Tsana. The hill pointed out as that on 
which King John was wounded lies 3 miles south-east, and that near which his body was captured is visible 10 miles 
further off. 

The inhabitants are almost entirely Takruris,f originally from Darfur. The ancestors of these people, on arrival 
at Gallabat on their way back to Darfur after visiting Mecca in the 18th century, realised they had found a better 
land and settled here, where they have remained ever since. They possess curious jagged throwing-knives, which 
their ancestors are said to have brought from the Upper Congo. 

In 1899 the population of the province, which was carefully assessed, numbered 2,200 souls, of which about 700 
were living in the town itself. In 1901, it was estimated to be 2,670, and it has since increased to 3,800 in 1904. 

These Takruris are as a rule poor, but industrious and fairly good cultivators. They also collect a good deal of 
honey. This they find with great dexterity by means of a bird, whose note they are exceedingly quick at detecting. 
Honey and water is always proffered to the thirsty traveller, though a liquor called " Asalia," a kind of " Um Bilbil " 
or " Merissa," is the drink they prefer themselves. 

Neither the import nor export trade with Abyssinia has as yet attained much importance. Coffee is one of the chief 
imports ; this is about PT.70 per 100 lbs., and is of very good quality. The remainder are mostly unimportant native 
requirements, such as bees-wax, shatta (red pepper), tobacco, etc., which are brought in in small quantities ; also a 
good many cattle, horses, mules and donkeys. This import of live-stock constitutes the bulk of the trade. 

There is a growing export trade both in raw locally-grown cotton as well as in Manchester goods. 

Half the customs receipts go to Abyssinia. In 1902 the total amounted to £E.720 and in 1903 to £E.805. 

Most of this district is fertile, but there is little land cultivated around the town of Gallabat, as the natives have 
discovered other spots in the forest where, owing to the particular kind of grass that grows, less labour is necessary 
to prepare the land for sowing. 

Most of the cultivation lies about 15 miles north-west of Gallabat, where there are a good many villages, 
chief of which are Wallak and Basunda. Though, as a rule, the grass is almost everywhere burnt as soon as 
dry (November and December), yet the grass on a piece of land which it is intended to cultivate is most carefully preserved 
until the arrival of the ensuing rains. Then, and not till then, when the young grass has sprouted, the dry grass is 

* For description of country east of Atbara, vide pp. 99-101. 

t The Takruris .sjteak of the Abyssinians as " .Makatla "—this is a name generally used for tliem throufjhout the Sudan and means 
"slaves." The Abyssinians naturally resent the appellation and have complained officially aI)out it. They retaliate by calling the 
Takruris, who origioally came from Darfur, " Far," i.e. Eats, the real name of jjeople of Darfur being, of course. For. 

Gallahnt, Blue Nile, Binder and Mahad Country. 


fired, and the old and new are destroyed together ; the ground is now clear and ready for sowing without further trouble, 
and thus cultivation is carried on with a minimum of labour. As the country is mostly forest, of course clearings have 
occasionally to be made. Two crops of dura are raised—" Naggad " and " Kurgi "--also a good deal of dukhn, which 
is ready for harvesting by the middle of October. Cotton is said to grow well, and in 1901 there were 800 acres of 
it under cultivation ; this was four times as much as in the preceding year. It is expected that several thousand acres 
will be under cotton cultivation in 1905-6. 

A few lime trees are now all that remain of the beautiful gardens which existed formerly on the banks of the 
Khor Abnaheir. The Dervishes are said to have ruthlessly cut down the fruit trees for building wood. 

The garrison is usually a detachment furnished by the company of the Sudanese or Arab Battalion at Kassala. 
There are also the usual civil police. 

The rains begin here earlier and are much heavier* than at either Gedaref or Kassala. After the end of April heavy 
rain storms become pretty frequent and last till September or October. During this season the roads are very bad 
for travelling. The serut fly appears when the new vegetation has sprung up. 

The same as Gedaref. Healthy, December to June ; unhealthy, during the remainder of the year. 

The main water supply is from the Khor Abnaheir, which averages 5 j'ards wide and 2 feet deep, but varies con- 
siderably according to the time of year, and becomes stagnant and foul towards the end of the dry season. There are 
also some small springs near the fort, the water from which, at this season, is more wholesome. 

Roads lead from here to Chelga and Gondar, Kwara, Dunkur, Roseires, Rahad, and Gadabi. (Vide Vol. 2). 

There is a telegraph and post office at Gallabat. 

Camels are the most suitable transport animals, unless the Abyssinian frontier is crossed, when mules or donkeys 
become desirable ; for the journey to either Gondar or Kwara they are indeed indispensable. 

When the Dervishes sacked Gondar, their transport consisted chiefly of camels, but very few are said to have 
survived or even to have reached there. 

Camels are hardly ever procurable at Gallabat. No number of mules, donkeys and horses can be relied on unless 
plenty of notice is given, when the Abyssinians would probably readily supply a limited number. 

British, Egyptian, or Turkish money is not as a rule accepted by the Abyssinians, who require to be paid in 
Maria Theresa dollars, which they value at PT.IOJ, but the Sudan Government at not more than PT.9J. 

From El Damer to the line Roseires-Gallabat all the game mentioned under " Kassala " is found, with the exception 
of ibex, oryx, wild sheep, and klipspringer, and in addition rhinoceros and tiang (Damaliscus Senegalensis) ; bohor, 
or reedbuck, and Gazdla rufifrons are common in places. 





Trade routes. 






Section 4. — Country between Blue Nile, Dinder, and Rahad, with Description of these Rivers. 

The country between the Blue Nile and the Rahad and Dinder Rivers is at present (1904) practically uninhabited General 
south of the village of Durraba on the Dinder, which is about the same latitude as Karkoj on the Blue Nile. description. 

Before the Mahdia, villages extended along both the Rahad and Dinder to nearly as far south as the Abyssinian 
frontier. Now, however, though inhabitants are slowly returning, there are but few villages even north of the Karkoj- 
Durraba line. 

The country lying south of the latitude of Sennar being infested with the serut fly during the rainy season, the Tribes, 
inhabitants, who are principally Kenana, Kawahla, Rufaa El Sharg, and Agaliin, are semi-nomadic ; that is to say 
shortly before the commencement of the rains many of them trek with their camels, cattle, horses, etc., northwards 
across the Rahad to the well-known El Butana grazing district {see p. 103), in order to escape the fly, whilst 
only a few remain behind to cultivate their dura, simsim, and cotton. 

The whole of this country as far south as the Abyssinian frontier, in the vicinity of which the hills commence, is 
perfectly flat and covered with bush or forest of varying density, with here and there open spaces, often many miles 
in extent. The bush is thickest in the vicinity of the river banks and thickest of all along the Rahad. 

The trees and bush most usually seen are talh, hashab, kittr, sayal, kurmut, heglig, laot, sunt, sidr, etc. 

El Agab Abu Gin, Nazir of the Rufaa El Sharg Arabs, is in charge of all the country bordering the Dinder and El Agab 
Rahad (left bank) from the latitude of Sennar southwards. His residence is at Abu Hashim on the Dinder (left bank). Abu Gin. 
Of the other villages occupied by his people the principal are Durraba, Bandana, Gileidat, and Lueisa. 

From the villages of Wad El Abbas and Sheikh Talha, both on the Blue Nile, roads lead to Gileidat and thence [5'°™'""'"'^ 
southwards along the Dinder to Durraba. beyond which point there is no regular road. FromSenga and Karkoj, 
roads lead, via Abu Hashim and Deberki on the Dinder, to Hawata on the Rahad. South of this, as far as the 
Roseires-Abu Ramla track, the country may be said to be roadless and, owing to the cotton soil and bush, 
travelling across country is a trying operation for man or beast. There is a good road up the right bank of the Blue 
Nile from Wad Medani to Famaka. 

* Total rainfall, .January to October, 1904, 34-6 inches. 

Q 2 


Blue Nile. 


Khor Um Degul, or Agaliin, or Mehara, which lies between the Blue Nile and Binder, and joins the latter near 
Deberki, was formerly thickly populated and cultivated by the Agaliin ; it was, however, until 1902, quite deserted. 
A few villages are now said to be springing up along it, and wells are being opened. There are many talh and 
hashab gum trees in its vicinity. 

North of Sennar-Gileidat villages are more numerous along the Rahad, Binder and Blue Nile, though there is no 
great extent of cultivation. 

In this district, or rather in the southern portion of it, the following species are found : — Elephant (Abyssinian 
variety, with small tusks), buffalo, rhinoceros, giraffe, loan, kudu, waterbuck, tora hartebeeste. tiang, reedbuck, ariel, 
gazelle, oribi, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, lion, leopard, hippopotamus, crocodile, etc. 


The Blue Nile.* 

General The Blue Nile rises in the Abyssinian mountains about 60 miles south of Lake Tsana (altitude of Lake Tsana, 

description. 4,800 feet). Its source was discovered by Bruce in the year 1760. After flowing northwards into the lake at its 

south-west corner, it finds an exitf again to the south-east, and, after making a big bend to the east, it curls round 

♦ Vide also p. 19, and "Itinerary of the Blue Nile," Vol. II. ; also Sir W. Garstin's "Report on the Basin of the Ujiper Nile," 
Foreign Office Blue Book, Egypt No. 2, 1904. 

t Ita course through the lake is said to be plainly discernible. 

Blue Nile. 


width, &c. 

to the south and flows in a north-westerly direction towards the Sudan, which it enters near Famaka. after a course 
of some 500 miles. Altitude at Famaka, 1,700 feet (approx.). 

Throughout the whole of this upper portion of its course, which has never been explored, it is believed to flow 
in a series of rapids over a rockv bed and often between high cliffs, and for the most part through the most 
precipitous and rugged country. Here it is known as the Abai, whereas, as soon as it reaches the plains of the Sudan, 
its name at once becomes " Bahr Azrak " or Blue Nile. 

Until comparatively recently the Blue Nile was considered by the Abyssinians to be the main stream of the Nile, 
and they, several centuries ago, fully realised the value of attempting, or threatening, to deprive Egypt of her water 
supply by the construction of a dam at the outlet of lake Tsana or possibly elsewhere. A mission to study the 
possibilities of this lake was recently sent from Egypt, and the investigation showed that it is by far the most 
suitable site on the Blue Nile for the construction of a storage reservoir which, though its benefit to Egypt would be 
slight, would be of the greatest value to the Sudan.* 

The length of the Blue Nile, from the point near Famaka, where it enters the Sudan, to its junction with the White 
Nile at Khartoum, is estimated at approximately 460 miles, which makes its total length about 1,000 miles. 

The average width of channel throughout its course in the Sudan is 550 yards. 

Although in the northern reaches the width increases, it is rarely more than 800 yards wide at any point. 

The average height of the banks over low-water level is from 26 to 30 feet for the first 150 miles up-stream Banks, 
from Khartoum. Further south they are higher, and average over 33 to 39 feet above low-water level. The difference 
in level between flood and low- water is 20 to 23 feet. In the first quarter of the year, the river is reduced to a succession 
of deep pools, connected by very shallow reaches. Even native boats can with difficulty navigate the distance between 
Sennar and Khartoum during this season. The Blue Nile is at its lowest in April, but during the latter half of May 
the first or false rise begins. The real rise begins in June, and the maximum height is attained in August. In the latter 
half of September it begins to fall rapidly. 

Navigation is simple enough at high Nile. As far up-stream as Roseires, 405 miles above Khartoum, the river is 
navigable by the ordinary Nile steamers from the middle of June till the end of November. Just above Roseires, however, 
there is a cataract about 6 miles long. This cataract has never been navigated by steamer, but it is said that previous 
to 1881, sailing boats passed regularly up and down it. Rafts occasionally navigate it successfully on their way down 
stream. During the last two years a small launch and a few sailing boats have been passed up and down, but there 
is a dangerous reach for sailing boats above the cataract. 

During November and December the water falls rapidly, and sandbanks appear in quantities, the rush of water 
through the narrow channels being very great. The worst part of the river is near Abdin and Sennar, but there is 
little rock anywhere. The water for 5 miles below Roseires is bad, and in places dangerous from rock. Steamers with 
barges lashed alongside, at the end of December in most years, can get through, except at one point some 20 miles 
south of Sennar, near Abdin, where a reef of rocks extends almost entirely across the river. Steamers have to be 
steadied over this place by ropes in December, and the barges passed up and down by ropes. 

Sir W. Garstin calculates the average discharge of the river at Khartoum to be : — 


Discharges, t 

At low-water (May' 
In flood (August) 

200 metres cube per second. 

The velocity of the stream is very great : even in February it is not less than 3 miles an hour, while in full flood Velocity, 
it must be considerably over 6 miles an hour. In winter the water is very clear, and of a beautiful limpid blue. In 

♦ Vvie Foreign Office Blue Book, Egypt No. 2, 1904. 

t The following table of discharges (Sir W. Garstin's) shows to a certain degree the relative importance of other rivei-s in the 
Sudan : — 

Discharge per second. 

Bahr El Jebel (Mouth) 
Bahr El Zeraf (Mouth) 
Bahr El (Ihazal (Mouth) 
Sobat (Mouth) 
White Nile (Khaitoum) 
Atbara (Mouth) 
Gash (Kassala) 
Nile (Berber) 



300 m.c. 

300 m.c. 

140 m.c. 

50 m.c. 

30 m.c. 

15 m.c. 

900 m.c. 

50 m.c. 

1,600 m.c. 

300 m.c. 

3,000 m.c. 


100 m.c. (?) 


.. 14,000 m.c. 

■ (0 


Blue Nile and Binder . H.S 

flood, being charged with the scourings of the Abyssinian mountains and forests, it is heavily charged with deposit, 
and the water is of a deep chocolate colour. The Blue Nile is considered the chief fertilizing agent of Egypt. 

From Khartoum to Sennar the country is uninteresting ; banks flat, vegetation and population considerable, ("ouutry 
here and there cultivation by sagias, crops mostly dura. h if 

South of Sennar the thorn jungle along the banks becomes very dense, and at high Nile dips into the water ; often 
the only way to get through it is by hippopotamus paths, though the roads on both banks have been cleared and there 
are meshras at frequent intervals. 

Speaking generally, the further south one goes the steeper and higher the banks become, the channel of the river 
being worn away by the rush of water. The country on the right bank is mostly jungle, with little cultivation and 
few villages. 

Between Wad Medani and Sennar the jungle on the left bank runs in a strip of one or two miles in breadth ; west 
of this strip are the cultivation and villages, which extend right across to the White Nile. Near Wad Medani the culti- 
vation is continuous, and one marches for miles through dura fields. 

As one proceeds south, the cultivation becomes less general, until south of Senga, where it is mostly confined to 
strips along the river bank, and a certain amount round villages a few miles inland. South of Senga the jungle is 
replaced by forest, large tamarind trees, etc., with thick undergrowth, and open marshes extend along the banks, which, 
in the dry season, afford excellent grazing. The grass, which grows to a height of 8 to 10 feet in the rains, dies rapidly 
as the rain ceases, and throughout November and December the natives burn enormous tracts of the dry grass. 
These grass fires, intended to improve the grazing as well as to enable people to get about the country, are, as may be 
imagined, exceedingly detrimental to the forest trees, which become distorted and stunted. The forest on both banks 
of the Blue Nile south of Senga is chiefly composed of acacias of several varieties, laot, tamarisk, kittr, hashab, talh, 
soffar, and sidr. A few kakamut, tebeldi, dom palms, and sycamores are also to be seen in these forests. 

The months of December, January, and February are cool and healthy. March, April and May are hot. The Olimate. 
rainy season begins in May and lasts till the end of October.* August, September, and October are very hot and damp. 
The drenching rains cool the air temporarily, but the subsequent heat is moist and enervating. On the upper reaches 
at Sennar, Karkoj, and further south, as the vegetation and foliage increase in density, so does malarial fever abound 
in proportion for at least a month after the rains have ceased. September and October are probably the worst months. 

In October, frequent heavy thunderstorms occur with torrential rain ; they are, however, very local. Heavy 
dew at night. The storms get less frequent as the month goes on, and are over before November, after which the climate 
gradually improves. The north wind blows fitfully during November and December, and the nights are cold, but the 
temperature by day is very high until late in December, particularly south of Karkoj. The " serut fly" practically Serut fly. 
appears and disappears with the rains, and is scarce in October, except ir. certain places. Its northern limit is Sennar. 
Mosquitoes are bad at all stations at night during August, September, and October. 

Cotton is cultivated by the natives on the Blue Nile either on the foreshore of the river or inland on ground Cotton, 
found by experience to be suitable in a good rainy season. 

On the Dinder the only crop raised is the rain crop. This is sown in July after the heavy rains have commenced 
at the same time as drua, etc. The foreshore sowing takes place simultaneously with that of other foreshore 
crops. I.e., about December, after the river has fallen, according to the state of the Nile and the height of the submerged 
banks thus cultivated. 

Both rain and foreshore crops begin to be ready for picking 4 riionths after sowing. There are usually three 
pickings, the last bijing the worst, as by that time the plants, which during winter are neglected, are invariably 
suffering from drought. 

In a good year one feddan (acre) of rain-watered land will produce 400 to 1,000 lbs. of unginned cotton. The species 
of cotton generally sown on the Blue Nile and Dinder are " Abu Hareira," " Belwa," and " Mumtaz." The two 
former, usually sown on the foreshore, are the old native kinds, whilst the latter, sown as raincrop, was introduced 
by Mumtaz Pasha from Egypt in the days of the Old Goverrunent. The " Abu Hareira " and " Belwa " kinds last 
3 years, but the " Mumtaz " only one. 

On the Blue Nile, the most favourable land for cotton cultivation is said to be from Sennar southwards to Abu 
Naama ; on the Dinder, the land above Deberki and Abu Eakhis is considered best. Good cotton (irrigated), how- 
ever, was grown at Wad Medani last year (1903-1904) on the Government experimental farm; 6f kantarsf being 
actually grown on 1,000 square metres, or a j feddan, giving an average yield of 27 kantars (2,700 lbs.) per feddan. 

RosEiRES. — On the right bank ; residence of a British Inspector and Egyptian Mamur. Post and telegraph Principal 
office ; communication by ferry with left bank. There is usually a garrison of one company, under a British oflicer, towns. 

♦ Total i-ainfall at Eoseires, April to October, 1904, 27-8 iuchea. 
t 1 Kantar = 100 lbs. 


liivers Dindm- and- Raliad. 

of Blue Nile. 













furnished by the battalion at Wad Medani. A gunboat is also stationed here. The population is increasing, 
chiefly Hameg and Sudanese tribes. The market is kept open all the year round, and most ordinary requirements 
can be obtained here. For rainfall, vide footnote on preceding page. 

Karkoj. — On the right bank is an unimportant village, formerly residence of a British Inspector and Mamur, 
and the headquarters of the District, which has, however, now been moved to Senga, Population about 1,000, mostly 
Jaalin. The market, which is a poor one, is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is no post or telegraph office 
here. Senga is the telegraph office. 

Senga.— Left bank. (Vide Chap. V, p. 119.) 

Sennar.— Left bank. (Vide Chap. V, p. 119.) 

Wad El Abbas. — On the right bank ; was founded about 50 years ago. The population numbers about 1,200, 
and consists chiefly of Jaalin, with a mixed lot of Gezira Arabs, as well as about 300 Sudanese. 

There is a weekly market on Wednesdays. 

Wad Medani. — Left bank. (Vide Chap. V, p. 119.) 

For principal towns between Wad Medani and Khartoum (vide Chaps. IV and V). 

See under " Country between Blue Nile and Rahad," p. 109. 

With the exception of the Dinder and the Rahad, there are in the Sudan no other important affluents of the Blue Nile, 
with the exception of perhaps the Khor Tomat, which joins the main stream near Famaka. This is dry, except during 
and shortly after the rainy season. Water, however, is easily obtained by digging in its bed. 

The River Dinder rises in the Abyssinian mountains to the south-west of Dunkur, and after flowing for about 50 
miles through very mountainous country it enters the plains of the Sudan and flows for about 200 miles in a north- 
westerly direction until it joins the Blue Nile (right bank) about 40 miles above the town of Wad Medani. 

Its bed near Dunkur, where it leaves the mountains, is rocky and stony, and about 100 yards wide. It was here 
found (June, 1901) to be 3 feet deep, with a rapid current, and for several months in the rainy season it must be difficult 
to ford. 

Throughout its course in the Sudan its bed, which is sandy and free from rocks a few miles below where it crosses 
the frontier, is much less winding than that of the Rahad and rarely exceeds 200 yards in width. Its tendency is to 
become narrower in its lower reaches, and at its mouth it is not more than 120 yards wide. 

Upstream of the old site of El Haj the river is wider and shallower and banks lower than in the inhabited area. 
Even in the old days there were few or no permanent villages above El Haj, but only temporary grazing 

Its banks are steep and generally about 15 feet high. They are, as a rule, rather higher than the adjacent country, 
which, when the river is full, becomes flooded and marshy. These marshes were formerly extensively planted with cotton, 
which is said to have been of good quality ; its cultivation is now being encouraged as far as the limited population 

The forests along the banks of the Dinder are of better quality and less dense than those of the Rahad ; sunt, 
kakamut, haraz, sidr, hashab, talh, babanus etc., are plentiful. 

The Dinder has been navigated by steamer as far up-stream as Deberki, about 120 miles from its mouth. 
Large sailing boats ascend it as far as El Safra. Of course, this is only possible whilst the river is in flood during, 
perhaps, three months in the year, and owing to the wooded banks and southerly wind it is very difficult for sailing 
boats. In the drj' season water stands in pools. There is little doubt, however, that like the Rahad it is navigable 
in flood to the Abyssinian border. 

The flood arrives at the junction with the Blue Nile about the last week in June. This is rather earlier than the 
Rahad flood, owing to the later commencement of the rains in Northern Abyssinia, and possibly partly due to the 
Dinder not being so excessively tortuous as the Rahad. Both Dinder and Rahad bring down large quantities of 
fertilising matter. 

Nr'ue of much importance. 

The Rahad rises in Abyssinia in the mountainous region between Lake Tsana on the East and Kwara to the west. 
It takes, at first, a northerly direction, but after entering the Sudan it flows generally north-west in an extraordinarily 
winding bed to its junction with the Blue Nile, almost opposite the town of Wad Medani. 

Its width probably nowhere exceeds 100 yards, and is frequently not more than 60 ; in places it is only 30 yards 
wide. It loses much of its water by "spills " known as " Maya," and is a much more imposing-loolcing river above 
than below Hawata. 

The banks, especially the right, are steep and high, sometimes as much as 40 feet above the bed at low water. 
They differ from those of the Dinder in that only the left bank is liable to be flooded, and that only at a few places, 
and consequently do not lend themselves to cultivation to the same extent. 

Belts of dense kittr bush and other jungle grow along its banks. In the lower reaches there are many fine sunt 



trees, and further inland talh, heglig, etc. Bordering its upper reaches are heglig, silag, khashkhash, ardeib, tebeldis, 
gemmeiz, etc. 

There are few villages at present above Hawata (right bank), and consequently there is no regular path, though Villages, 
the bush has been to a certain extent cleared. Travelling along the river above Shammara, though practicable, is a 
difficult operation, more especially before the grass is burnt. 

The flood reaches the Blue Nile about the first week in July, and water ceases to flow at the mouth by the end Fl<x>d. 
of November. High water is said to last 90 days from about mid- July. 

The river, when in flood, is navigable for small steamers throughout, but its comparatively narrow bed, 
combined with very sharp and frequent bends, militate against successfid navigation by sailing boats. 

Mr. Armbruster navigated the river in the stern-wheeler Amara from its mouth to Meshra Abid (420 miles) in 
.\ugust, 1904. On the way down stream navigation was only effected with considerable difficulty and serious 
damage to the steamer, owing to the rate of the current — 6 miles per hour at and 3 miles per hour at Sherif 
Yagub — as well as to the extreme sharpness of the bends, at which there were often rocks and large overhanging 


Table of Distances on the Blue Nile. 


Total from 



Miles. Kilometres. 



Khartoum (Palace) 











El Masid ... 















Abu Haraz... 





Mouth of Rahad 





Wad Medai.i 





Mouth of Diniler 





Wad El Abb.Ls 




31 Oi 
















Abu Naania 




















^ '^^jte: ^ 











^»iy.-,» ^-"^ ^yy ^^^^^^^B 




(Country between the White Nile and Abyssinia, bounded by the Blue Nile and Sobat. 
Section 1. — Gezira ; Khartoum to Sennar — Goz Abu Guma Line. 

The area of about 7,500 square miles enclosed by the Blue and White Niles, from their junction at Khartoum to 
as far south as the line Sennar-Goz Abu Guma, forms the northern portion of that generally known as the " Gezira " 
or " EI Hoi," and contains some of the most fertile and most thickly populated districts in the Sudan. Though rather 
sandy in the neighbourhood of Khartoum, the soil of this flat alluvial plain gradually becomes richer and richer as one 
proceeds southwards, until between Mesellemia and Managil or Abud the acme of fertility is attained. The eastern 
half of this district is much more fertile and cultivated than the western half, a fact perhaps attributable to the fertilizing 
properties of the Blue compared to the White Nile. The whole of this region is so flat and free from khors, or other 
indications as to the direction of the drainage, that, except perhaps just south of Managil, it is impossible, without 
careful levelling, to define the watershed between the two rivers. 

Bush of any extent and the granite hills, so common in most parts of the Sudan, are only found along its more 
southern, eastern, and western limits, whilst where not cultivated, the surface of the ground is usually covered with 
maheirib, homra, hantut, or naal grass. The entire area is definitely owned by tribes, families, or individuals, and 
strangers desiring to cultivate any portion can only do so on payment of rent, which is usually taken in kind. 

Many of the tribes, and their name is legion*, inhabiting the interior of this district are of a semi-nomadic nature, 
that is to say, they cultivate and graze in the interior during the rains, and in the dry weather repair to the rivers, 
where not only is the watering of their flocks an easier matter and the grazing better than inland, but much ground is 
left by the receding Niles available for cultivation. 

On both the Blue and White Niles, however, there is, in addition, a large and heterogeneous sedentary population, 

The principal cereal cultivated is, of course, dura, and a species known as "feterita" is sown as soon as sufficient 
rain has fallen, after which it merely requires to be kept weeded, and in two months' time is ready for harvesting. The 
only drawback is that this crop is entirely dependent on the rainfall, which is often insufficient, and small banks, 1 to 
2 feet high, called " taras," are generally necessary to hold up the water in order to thoroughly flood any particular 
piece of land which it is desired to cultivate. 

Three ardebsf per feddan (acre approximately) is an exceptionally good crop, but one ardeb per feddan is the 
ordinary yield of rain-watered land. The natives reckon a yield of 15 ardebs per rubaf of seed sown a very good crop 
for very good land in a favourable year, but 4 ardebs per ruba is about the average. 

Shaduf or sagia-watered land on the Blue Nile yields 5 ardebs of dura shami (Indian corn) per feddan, whilst on the 
White Nile 3| to 4 is an average crop. Irrigation on the former is usually by sagia, and on the latter by shaduf. 

Wheat is cultivated to a limited extent on shaduf or sagia lands, but it is too expensive to be popular with the 
natives. An average crop is 5 ardebs per feddan. It is sown late in November, and harvested three months later. 

Much has yet to be learnt as to the suitability of the Gezira for growing cotton. Cotton sown on the foreshore 
of the White Nile near Khartoum in July is irrigated by the flood, and three pickings can be made before the river 
becomes too low in February. Experiments so far show " Mit Afifi " to be the species best adapted to the country, 
but the paucity of the rainfall has so far precluded the possibility of obtaining reliable results from the experiments 
made. Sufficient cotton, of a quality suitable for local requirements, has, however, been grown for many years. 

The water supply during the dry season of other than the riverain population is from wells. In the rains these 
are supplemented by hafirs or tanks. The depth of the wells varies from 60 feet on the east of the watershed near 
the Blue Nile to 100 feet in the centre, whore they gradually become deeper the further south one travels, until a few 
miles south of Managil they are as much as 200 feet deep, whilst in the pans or hollows of the west of the watershed 




Dura shami. 




* Vide Appendix F. 

t 1 ardeb = 300 lbs. = 24 ruba. 

K 2 

118 The Gezira. 

they are often not more than 15 feet. These latter wells are peculiar, in that if used for long they become salt and 
thus new wells have to be constantly dug. 

Many of the wells also in the north of the Gezira are salt. Nearly all villages have their own well, though 
occasionally water is carried for a distance of several miles. 
Grazing. There is often very little grazing a few months after the rains have terminated ; during the dry season, therefore, 

the flocks are pastured along the banks of the Niles, and in bad seasons they even cross the river into Kordofan. 

During the Kharif, as the serut fly is not present north of Sennar-Shawal, many camels and flocks are brought 
from the south to graze north of this line. 
Cliief towns. El Geteina. — 54i miles by road south of Khartoum on right bank White Nile. Headquarters of Geteina District 

and residence of Mamur, police officer, etc. The inhabitants are chiefly Danagla and Jaalin. The Omda's name is 
Sheikh Mohammed Osman Abd El Rahman, a Dongolaui. Most of the houses are built of mud. Post and Telegraph 
office. (Firfep. 53.) 

Kawa. — 132 miles by road south of Khartoum on White Nile (right bank). It is the same as El Eis of the old 
travellers. It has rather a large population of Danagla, Jaalin, Shaigia, and various blacks. The Omda's name is 
Ismail Musa. The houses are both mud and flat-roofed, and grass " tukls." It is the headquarters of Kawa 
District and residence of Mamur. Post and Telegraph office. {Vide p. 57.) 

Goz Abu Guma (or Zeinoba). — Quite a newly built town of grass tukls on the White Nile, about 180 miles by road 
south of Khartoum. A steamer from Khartoum runs up as far as this with mails weekly. There is a post office 
and telegraph office. Residence of a Mamur and police officer. Inhabitants, Danagla, Jaalin, Gowama, and blacks. 
Omda Ahmed Mohammed El Zein, a Jaali. Practically no transport animals obtainable here. A good deal of gum 
is collected here from the interior of Kordofan. {Vide p. 59.) 

Maatuk. — A collection of tukl villages, 22 miles north-east of Dueim and 29 miles west of Managil. The population, 
a large one, consists chiefly of Arakin, also Hassania and Tawal. The Omda's name is Ibrahim Wad El Netef, an 

The water supply is plentiful and good from many wells 15 to 30 feet deep. In the rains the inhabitants, to 
a great extent, leave the wells and live on their cultivation, drinking from hafirs or rain-water tanks. There is much 
rain cultivation about here in good years. Where not cultivated, the land is usually covered with scattered laot and 
kittr bush. Maatuk belongs to Kawa District of the Gezira Province. 

Managil. — A collection of some half-dozen or more tukl villages in the centre of the most fertile part of the Gezira. 
It is 38 miles from Wad Medani, 50 from Dueim and 107 from Khartoum. Residence of Mamur and police officer 
of Managil District belonging to Gezira Province. Fair "Suk" : market days, Sundays and Wednesdays. The 
wells, three in number, are about 150 feet deep. There is a large mixed population here and throughout the District, 
which contains 43,000 inhabitants. The land just south of Managil is the most suitable in the Gezira for the 
cultivation of cotton. This district was handed over to his fellow Taaisha by the Khalifa Abdalla, and some of the 
Tagale blacks imported by them to cultivate have settled in the neighbourhood. 

Segadi. — A large tukl village siiuated at the foot of the southern slopes of two low granite hills 50 miles south 
of Managil. It belongs to the vSennar Province. The Omda's name is Torin Ahmed, of the Rufaa tribe. The population, 
numbering about 1,500 (?), is composed of many different tribes. Water supply is fairly good. It is about 40 miles 
from Goz Abu Guma and 30 from Shawal, on the White Nile. 

Moya. — Another large village belonging to and 21 miles west from Sennar and about 14 miles south-east of Segadi. 
There are several hills in the neighbourhood, chief of which is J. Moya, about 500 feet high, from the summit of which 
Jebel Dali, on the road to Gule, is visible bearing 177° mag. There is a road from here to Gule and another to Wad 
Medani. Water supply is very bad, and, in fact, almost nil towards the end of the dry season, when the inhabitants 
disperse in different directions. The Omda's name is El Imam Hadibai, and the population, which, however, varies, 
numbers about 1,200, chiefly Amarna, also Hameg and Gowama. 

Kamlin. — 58J miles by road and 04 J miles by river from Khartoum, on left bank of Blue Nile. Present (1904) 
Headquarters* of Gezira Province and residence of Mudir. There is a large population, consisting of Danagla (several 
sections, but chiefly El Jeberked), Mawalads (Mogharba and Egyptian), Jaalin, and Shaigia. Houses mostly built 
of mud. Post and Telegraph office. The Omda's name is Abbas Musa. 

Hellet Amara (or Arbagi). — On left bank, Blue Nile, 84 J miles by road and 95 by river from Khartoum. Opposite 
Rufaa. There are several villages in the angle of the river which, however, are so close to one another that they may 
be considered as one. Houses mostly built of mud. Population chiefly Jaalin, Danagla and Batahin, under Omda El 
Sheikh Ali El Haj Taha, a Jaali. Amara is the headquarters of the Mesellemia District of Gezira Province and 
residence of a British inspector, Mamur, police officer, etc. Population of District 32,300, chiefly Halawin, who are the 
best cultivators in the Sudan. 

♦ Wad Medani is to become the headquarters of Geziia (Blue Nile) Province in 1905. 

The Gezira. 119 

Arbagi. — Arbagi, which is close to Amara, is one of the oldest sites in the Sudan, and is mentioned by the learned 
Ludolphus in his history of Abyssinia. It was destroyed by the Shukria early in the 19th or at the end of 18th 

Mesellemia. — Mesellemia, from which an administrative district takes its name, is about 11 miles nearly due 
south of Arbagi, and about 6 miles inland from the Blue Nile (L.B.). Prior to the Mahdia it was a very large town 
and a great centre of trade. People are now returning and are rebuilding it. Surrounding it is some of the most 
fertile land in the Sudan. Residence of a Mamur and headquarters of the district. 

Wad Medani. — Population about 14,000 ; on left bank Blue Nile, just above its junction with Rahad ; about 
1 mile long by | mile broad ; large market daily, also bi-weekly, Monday and Thursday, the largest in the Sudan next 
to Omdurman. Founded by El Fiki Medani about 1800 a.d. Post and telegraph office. Inhabitants : Gezira 
sedentary tribes, principally Khawalda, Arakin, Kawahla, Jaalin, Bussalia, and Medaniim. Headquarters of 
Gezira Province (1905). Garrison, one battalion. Rainfall here for 12 months — March 1903 to February 1904^ 
was 31.3-5 m.m. or about 12^ inches. 

Senga. — Headquarters of Senga District : will probably be headquarters of Seimar Province in 1905. 
A large and increasing village, and next in importance to Wad Medani ; left bank Blue Nile about half mile long 
and some distance inland ; all built of straw huts except the Government buildings, which are of brick. Soil lertile, 
and district much wooded. Population about 1,600. Yearly increasing trade and daily market. Founded by 
Abdalla Wad El Hassan about 19 years ago. Inhabitants mostly Jaalin and Kenana. Post and telegraph offices. 

Sennar. — Almost in ruins owing to Dervish occupation. Has lost all its former importance. Extends about 
I mile along the river, surrounded by an old trench and embankments. There is a large mosque of red burnt bricks, 
in a very bad state of repair. At the time of its re-occupation in 1898, Sennar town was in ruins and uninhabited ; it 
was made headquarters of the province tiU, in April, 1900, it was superseded by Wad Medani, Sennar remaining 
headquarters of a District. In March, 1903, the headquarters of the District were removed about 3 miles south of 
Sennar to Kabush on the river bank, where new buildings have been erected ; people are now moving and settling 
between old Sennar and Kabush. Bi-weekly market Monday and Thursday. In surrounding district soil very 
fertile, all land cultivated by rains, except in Sennar town, which is irrigated by five sagias. Near Kabush there is 
thick forest along the river, known as the forest of Kabush, extending nearly up to Ereidiba. Population 350. 
Inhabitants ; Kenana, Gawazma, Rufaa, Jaalin, Kawahla, etc. 

Wad El Abbas. — Population about 1,200; right bank Blue Nile; founded about 50 years ago. Inhabitants, 
Jaalin and Gezira tribes, with some 300 blacks. Weekly market on Wednesdays. 

Section 2. — Country South of Sennar-Goz Abu Guma Line to the Sobat. 

(a) General Descriplion. 

The country between the Niles south of north lat. 13° 30' (approximately) forms the southern portion of that Topography, 
known as " the Gezira " or " El Hoi," and is, save for the riverain population of the Blue Nile and the few villages on 
the White Nile between Goz Abu Guma and Jebelein, practically uninhabited as far south as north parallel 12°, 
which is the northern limit of Dar Fung. 

With the exception of the water in natural tanks at Jebels Mazmum* and Gerebin (which are however apt to 
run dry) this level plain is waterless in the driest season, though the soil is of the richest description, and beyond 
here and there a few isolated granite hills, the highest of which is Abu Gurud, its surface is devoid of all inequalities 
and undulations. Not a single khor or wadi is discernible, and except for fairly wide belts of kittr bush, especially 
near the two rivers and round the bases of the hills, the country is on the whole fairly open until nearing Dar Fung, Dar Fung, 
when dense forest commences and stretches, apparently continuously, east and west from Nile to Nile. 

Owing to the scanty water supply during the dry season and the spongy nature of the soil, it is almost impossible 
for caravans to travel otherwise than on the few existing tracks. 

South of Gule this forest of talh, hashab, solfar, etc., extends uninterruptedly to the hills of Tabi on the south- 
east, and to Surkum and Keili to the south. About 30 miles south of Gule khors draining the Tabi hills become frequent, 
and the surface of the ground becomes stDny, making the going along the already narrow and much overgrown path^ 
exceedingly bad. 

The districts of Fazogli, Keili, and the greater part of Dul and Kirin are undulating and much cut up by Fazoglian 
watercourses, and boast far more hills than the country further west towards the White Nile. The hills in these districts Keili. 

* There is now a well at J. Soga, a few iiundred yards west of the village at the northern end of J. Mazmum ; there is also a 
well al .J. l>ali, which cannot, howevei", be relied on. 


The Southern Gezira. 

South and 
of (lule. 







are scattered promiscuously, and rise steeply from the surrounding country. They are generally covered witli detached 
boulders and stunted trees. The plain itself is for the most part gravelly or stony, and is intersected with dry rocky 
khors. It is covered near the foot of the hills with a thick low growing forest, but away from the hills the bush is 
generally thinner. Before it has dried up, the grass among the bush would make it very difficult to leave the 
paths, but in the dry season there is generally no difficulty in getting through the bush, excepting at the khors. The 
whole of this country suffers greatly from want of water, and even where there is water in the streams near their sources, 
it soon disappears into the ground. Water can, however, often be found in many of the stream beds by digging. 

South and south-west of Gule stretches an almost uninterrupted plain to the Baro and Sobat, bounded on the west 
by the White Nile and on the east by the hills on the Abyssinian frontier. In the central and eastern portions of this 
district there are a few scattered hills, such as Abuldugu, Melkan, Ulu, etc., belonging to the Burun, at each of which 
there is water, but in the Dinka- country from Jebelein southwards along the Nile, these are conspicuous by their 
absence. Between north parallels 12° 30' and 10° 30' forest is almost continuous, however, south of 10° 30' the country 
becomes gradually more open and grassy and continues so, as far as is known, up to the fringe of forest bordering 
the Baro and Sobat. Water, south of 10° 30', seems comparatively plentiful, both in hafirs made by the Burun or 
standing in pools in khors. 

The width of marsh bordering the Baro and Sobat is often much exaggerated ; it seems generally not to exceed 
4 to 5 miles in width along the former, and is more often much less along the latter. Fringing the marsh is a narrow belt 
of forest, and behind that steppe-like country, which becomes practically treeless in the region of the lower Sobat {vid£ 
Chap. VI). 

Khor Tomat, draining Beni Shangul and Fazogli is the principal khor emptying into the Blue Nile. 

The more important ones emptying into the White Nile are : — 

Khor Deleib, source in Jebel Tabi and mouth at Renk ; Khors Rau and Balantega, mouths at Jebel Ahmed Agha, 
but source conjectural, and Khor Adar or Yal, which empties into the White Nile about 30 miles north of Fashoda, 
and possibly forms the mouth of both the Yabus and Sonka. Another theory is that the Sonka and Yabus drain 
into a marsh, from which a certain amount of water is believed to find its way into the Sobat near Nasser. Khor Garre 
drains into the Baro. 

The rainfall over the whole of this area is heavy, especially in the more southern districts, where the rainy season 
may be said to extend from the end of April till the beginning of Novembsr. 

Camels, mules, or donkeys do well throughout the whole of this district, except during the rains, when mules are 
probably the best. At this season the serut fly is present everywhere, and in the dry season along the Nile there is 
a small black fly, similar in general appearance to the common house-fly, which is excessively annoying and somewhat 
injurious to camels. Abyssinian horses are useful, and the ordinary Arab does well, though more delicate. 

The only roads* known to exist, with the exception of those from Senga to Moya, and Senga to Jebelein, vid Teigo 
and Jebel Dali, are described in the route reports in Vol. 2, Chap. V. 

In the more northern parts of this region the ordinary Sudan currency is de rigue.ur, but in dealings with natives 
along the Abyssinian frontier Maria Theresa dollars or gold rings, obtainable at Abu Shaneina (36 Maria Theresa dollars = 
1 oz. gold, approximately), are generally required, though in Fazogli, Keili, or in fact in any Arabic-speaking district, 
Egyptian money is as a rule readily accepted.f Menelek's dollar is only very rarely seen, and his smaller coins never. 
The Maria Theresa dollar is not, as a rule, accepted unless the brooch on the shoulder is pretty clearly 
distinguishable. Amongst the Gallas salt bars form the small change (3^ bars = 1 Maria Theresa dollar). 

In the Dinka country on the White Nile, giraffe or buffalo hides are the best trade goods ; " gianotta "f and other 
large beads, as well as Egyptian money are also acceptable. Along the Sobat, beads (large amber, opaque white, 
small white, " gianotta,"J etc.), spear heads, axes, and fasses are all much in request. Money is becoming daily more 
readily taken. 

Mosquitos, or " Ba-uda " as they are called by the Dinkas and by many Sudanese Arabs, are very numerous in places 
even in the dry season along the White Nile, though here and there there are none even quite close to the water. The 
natives themselves, though not professing belief in the Anopheles theory, say that if one is bitten much by them they 
cause fever. The fact of there being a village at any spot may be accepted as sufficient guarantee that there are 
no, or at any rate, very few, mosquitos there. Most of the villages even in the dry season are a mile or more from the 

The following species are represented: — Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippopotamus, hartebeeste (Jacksonii and tora), 
tiang, roan-antelope, kudu, waterbuck, reedbuck, bushbuck, cobus leucotis, gazelle, oribi, lion, leopard, cheetah, etc. 
Specimens of Neumann's hartebeeste are also believed to have been shot near Ahmed Agha. 

♦ A new roaxl is being cut (1904) from Senga to Goz Abu Guma, and from Roseires direct to Gule and Renk. 
+ Egyptian money jh accepted in Beni Shangul except by the Abys.siuians. 
J Black bead with white spots. 


Dar Fun;/ and Bnrun. 


J. Tabi and 

Mris Wad 





(b) Dnr Fung (South of North Lat. Vl°). 

Dar Fung is now, compared to its palmy days, an unimportant district. Its boundaries are : on the north, 
Jebels Gereiwa and Rera; on the east, Jebel Agadi and the Fazogli district. Southwards, it extends to the Abyssinian 
fiontier, and. including the district of Keili and the northern Burun country, extends westwards towards the Dinkas 
of the White Nile. 

In the days when the Fung were at their best, it included Dul and Assosa etc., which now belong to Abyssinia. 

Jebel Tabi and district is included in Dar Fung, The Ingassana, now under Mek Agoda, who inhabit it, remained 
independent and refused to pay tribute to Idris Wad Regab or the Government until February, 1903, when the Mudir 
visited this district and established the headquarters of the Dar Fung District at Soda instead of Gule, without 
opposition. The Ingassana are seldom met without their peculiar sickle-shaped swords. They also possess curious 
boomerang-like throwing-sticks. They keep apparently a good deal to themselves, as complaints against them are 
rare. They expressed delight at coming under the asgis of the Government, and at the assurance of their future 
immunity from slave raids. The district of Tabi is hilly and well watered, and appears to be much more healthy 
than the surrounding plains. It is said to much resemble Erkowit in the Suakin district. Pigs are not uncommon 
in this district, and the menu of the chiefs is a varied one, dogs, horses, camels, leopards etc., are all eaten, 
especially the former, with great relish. The skulls of all animals consumed are arranged in order round the 
enclosures of the houses. 

Idris Wad Regab, a direct descendant of the old Fung dynasty, is now Mek or head Sheikh of Dar Fung. He is 
a loyal man, and is now very badly off, having suffered greatly at the hands of the Dervishes, by whom he was not 
recognised. Sheikh Abd El Kader is his Wakil. Adlan Wad Surur was Mek during the Mahdia; he now lives near 

Gule used to be the chief town of Dar Fung, it is now only second in importance to Keili. It consists of three 
small villages situated at the foot of Jebel Idris or Gule, a granite mass about 1,000 feet high, and contains but a few 
hundred inhabitants, mostly Hameg, or a mixture of Hameg and the aboriginal Fung. There are generally some 
encampments of Dar Ageil or Selim Arabs in the vicinity. 

There is a little trade with Abyssinia, but practically nothing in the shape of supplies, animals etc., are procurable 
here. Most of the merchants trading with Abyssinia pass through Keili. 

There is the usual dura and simsim cultivation, but little more is grown than is required for the wants of the 

As, prior to the demarcation of the Abyssinian frontier, the Burun were so decimated by raiding parties from 
Abyssinian territory, Idris Wad Regab was, in March, 1902, given rifles by the Government to protect his people. In 
addition to these he had a good many of his own, with which he inflicted some loss on Ahmed Fedil's force when it 
marched from Dakhila to the White Nile after the battle of Roseires, December, 1898. These raids have ceased for 
the present owing to the capture of the principal raider, Ibrahim Wad Mahmud, in February, 1904. Vide Chap. VII, 
Part II, page 278. 

Water, which is obtained from several holes at the foot of the Jebel, is fairly plentiful but bad. It is said to be 
impregnated with lime. 


Bunin neat 
K. Yabug. 


The Burun inhabit the country between the Dinkas of the White Nile and the Abyssinian frontier from about 
11° 30' north latitude southwards to the Dinkas and Nuers of the Sobat and Baro. Those among the hills north of 
K. Yabus are under Mek Idris Wad Regab, of Gule, and appear to have acknowledged the suzerainty of his 
predecessors for probably a century before the advent of the Turks. On the K. Yabus and south of it nothing 
can be definitely stated as to their organisation, but they appear to be divided into a number of independent 

The Burun are said to be related to the Berta, but they are lighter in colour than the Berta generally are and 
speak a different language. 

Major Gwynn gives the following description of the Burun near Khor Yabus: The men, who are physically very 
finely built, are stark naked, and smear their heads with wet and clammy red mud.* They all carry long bows, wooden 
pointed featherless arrows, and in addition, generally a spear. Arrows are poisoned by being stuck into a 
certain species of tree,f and are pointed with notched charred wood or ebony. They have a range of 150 yards. 

* Their ai)peanince is said to he rendered still more grotesque by the wearing of a cow-hide belt about .3 inches wide to which 
is affixed, at tlie back, the tail of some animal ; this gives the wearer the strange appearance of possessing a tail, 
t Euphorbia caiiddabrum. 

Keili and Fazogli. 


The women are also naked, save for a small loin cloth of skin. They are good looking and attractive. The Burun 
dialect spoken by Idris Wad Regab's men, but no Arabic, is understood by the Burun of the Yabus. Their word of 
greeting is " Moka." 

The Burun north of K. Yabus live as a rule on the scattered hills during the rains, and drink from the rainwater 
which collects in natural rock tanks. During the dry season, when this water is exhausted, they either descend to 
the plain and live on the khors, in many of which water stands in pools, or else have to carry their water for a 
considerable distance. Some of the hills inhabited by them are Abuldugu, Surkum, Melkan, Gum Gum, and 
Wadaga. K. Gemmeiza, flowing from near J. Abuldugu towards Melut, furnishes their principal water supply. 
They also obtain water from " Hafirs," or ponds, which are roofed with thatch to lessen evaporation. Wells seem to 
be very rarely sunk. These northern Burun are now very poor, and women and children are very scarce. 

The Burun, in the Garre Valley, seem more prosperous, having plenty of water and grain in their country, but 
both sections, especially the northern, have been most deplorably reduced by slave raids from the east. The principal 
raider, however, Ibrahim Wad Mahmud, as before stated, was captured by Lieutenant-Colonel Gorringe in February, 
190i. The southern Burun country is still almost entirely unexplored. 

The Burun seem to have little intercourse with the tribes living on the White Nile, and no regular roads to it, 
except perhaps from J. Gerawid to J. Ahmed Agha, seem to exist. It is intended, however, to open up roads 
between the western frontier of Abyssinia and the Nile, and to improve the present primitive system of water supply 
in this district. For report on routes, vide Chapter V. and Appendix, Vol. II. 



Keili, which is part of Dar Fung, is bounded on the east and south-east by the Abyssinian frontier, which divides Boundaries. 
it from Beni Shangul, Gomasha, and Dul, and on the north-east by Fazogli. Keili claims to share with Fazogli the 
mountains of Agaru, Kashangaru, and Ragreig, though practically the whole of Agaru belongs to the latter, and the 
whole of Ragreig to the former, as also does Jebel Gainshur. Jebels Kurmuk and Maiak are within the southern 
limits of this district, and Jebels Surkum and Abuldugu to the west also belong to it. On the north the boundarv is 
Jebel Tabi. 

The Jebelawin inhabit the eastern portions of the district, and the Burun the western. For administrative purposes, inhabitants, 
this district is in the Dar Fung District. 

The acting Mek of Keili is a youth of about 15 years of age. His father, Beshir Hamdan, who was much 
addicted to slave dealing, was arrested and deposed by Government, February, 1903. 

The valley between Ragreig and Jebel Keili forms as it were an oasis, and must have a population of several 
thousand. It is a very pleasant spot in the dry season, but in the rains becomes more or less swampy. 

Sheikh Bilburka, of the Fung inhabitants of Dul, now lives at Keili in order to avoid the exactions of the Watawit, 
under Abyssinian rule, similarly Sheikh Jela Abdalla, a Jaali refugee, fled from Beshir and Shanji villages in 1897, and 
now lives in the Arab settlement at Keili. 

The Jebelawin language is used at Jebel Keili. The Burun use a dialect of the Burun language similar to that Langu.ige. 
of Jebel Maiak. 

In the valley between Jebels Kurmuk and Keili a great deal of dura is grown, both for local consumption and for Cultivation, 
the supply of the mountaineers in the hills near Dul. There are plenty of cattle, sheep and pigs. etc. 

Some alluvial gold is found in the khor east of Jebel Ragreig. Gold. 

Water is obtained from wells and from pools in khors, whilst on the face of Jebel Keili itself there are several Water 
springs. At Jebel Surkum there is a perennial supply of muddy water from four holes on the south side of the Jebel. supply. 

At Jebel Abuldugu there is water in the pass through which the road from Gule leads. This, however, does 
not last all the year round. Natives then water in the Khor Ganna, about 2 miles to the east. 

Keili is the chief town of Dar Fung and is rapidly growing. It is situated at the foot and to the south of J. KeiH, 
and is the residence of the Mek. There is also a small garrison of Sudanese regulars here from Wad Medani, as well 
as some mounted irregulars. 

(c) Fazogli. 


^B Fazogli is not included in Dar Fung, but belongs to the Roseires District ; it is bounded for administrative 
^■purposes as follows :— On the north-west and west by the Hameg (Abu Gemai to Jebel El Geri), on the noith by 
^P the Jebel Geri-Abu Ramla line, and from Abu Ramla its boundary runs southwards along the Abyssinian frontier 
to Jebel Kashangaru, thence northwards towards Jebel Agadi, Dar Fung being to the west of this line. 




The Mek's name is Kegab Hassan, who is surnamed Abadaro, and is a middle-aged man who appears to have 
a good deal of influence, but is said to be addicted to drink. He claims descent from Jaber, the first Fung conqueror 
of Fazogli. 

The principal inhabitants are Jebelawin, an aboriginal race merged into the ruling Fung living at Fazogli, Kuturu, 
Kiri, Abu Shaneina on both banks, and Adarsi. Their villages on the Tumat and at Abu Shaneina are under Mek 
Khamis, a Jebelawi, but the Arabs at the latter place are under an Arab named Ali Wad Rowaa. 

Elias Khamis, the former Fung ruler of the Jebelawin of Beni Shangul lives on the Tomat with a following of 
Sudanese refugees from Beni Shangul. Sheikh Fakir is similarly in charge of Arab refugees from the south. 

Arabic is understood by the Sheikhs of the district, but the rotana in use on the left bank of the Nile is that used 
by the Hameg of the Blue Nile, and by the Jebelawin and Berta. On the right bank, in the Fazogli district, the Gumz 
language is totally different. 

The Sheikhs alone profess Mohammedanism ; the majority of the Jebelawin are heathen. 

In the hills the inhabitants are nearly ali Berta ; very few can talk Arabic. They are as a rule finely developed 
and healthy looking, but are dull and lazy to a degree. Their villages are built in the most inaccessible places; the 
tukls being wedged amongst great boulders. They only grow small patches of dura, and depend entirely on the rains 
to irrigate it. During the dry season, even for drinking, water has to be carried immense distances. A great many 
fowls are kept in the villages. The men in some places wash for gold in the khors. 

The Berta of Jebel Falabut are under Mek Abadalla, those of Jebel Faronge are under Mek Amaka. On the latter 
mountain are separate villages for the Faronge sub-tribe, part of the Fadoko sub-tribe, and the Goamili, who were 
driven from Jebel Abdanab of late years by the rulers of Beni Shangul. The head-quarters of the Fadoko sub-tribe 
remain at Sarankchau, near Abdanab on the Yabus river, subject to the Sultan of Beni Shangul. Falabut and Faronge 
are in charge of Mek Abu Ras of Kiri. 

The Berta extend westwards from the Blue Nile through Gezan to Mudeli village (Sheikh El Nur) to Jebel Sude 
sub-district (Sheikh Hambalha), and Khor Gasa (Mek Jibara), south and west of which the Berta have lost their 

The Berta, though heathen, are not averse to Mohammedanism. 

Bakurig Bugul, the successor of Gormaz, the last aboriginal Mek of Gezan sub-district, lives at Fazogli. Hassan 
Wad El Gharbi is the Sheikh of the Watawit at Gezan and Amora, Mek Abulang being resident chief of 
the Berta. 

The word "Gumz" signifies "people" in the aboriginal language, of which the various sub-tribes use distinct 
dialects. The Gumz, of which the Bazaroda and Kadalo are sub-tribes, are heathen, God and sun being synonymous. 

The Bazaroda sub-tribe is under Mek Ya Karda, grandson of Ab Zaroda. The boundaries are the Blue Nile on the 
south and Khor Bombode on the east. Headquarters, Hoburra. Other villages are Kambal, Yagor. Agabar, and 
Yarada. Though subject to Abadaro, the Mek of Gubba demanded as tribute, in 1900 and 1901, 50 ardebs of dura and 
30^. worth of gold dust. Products include cotton, dura, simsim, " zaf " or dom fibre, and Adansonia bark rope, honey, 
gungeleis or Adansonia fruit, and gold dust from the Nile, near the mouth of the Khor Zuar. 

El Kadalo sub-tribe, formerly peopled Jebel Dimr and Jebel Mulki, but Mek Adam, owing to a blood feud with the 
Fung ruler of Gubba, is now living on the Nile with his following from those hills. The rest of the Kadalo are under 
him, and subject to Abadaro of Fazogli. In the Samina Hills there are Kadalo at Beletamaru and Masambaga, under 
Mek Ahmed Wad Mohammed, surnamed El Wishari, also at Jabranza under his son Beshir Ahmed. 

At Jebel Metongwe the local Mek is Mansur, and at Jebel Menze, Mek Idris. 

Fazogli the residence of the Mek, is a straggling village of tukls, extending about 2 miles along a ridge of high 
ground running parallel to the river. This ridge is about 800 yards from the river, and the low intervening ground 
is given over entirely to cultivation. The ground behind Fazogli rises to the height of 1,750 feet at a distance of 
2 miles, and is covered with trees. 

The water supply is from the river. 

The old mudiria of Famaka is an enclosure about 120 yards square, surrounded by a stone wall, which is still in 
good condition. It is situated on the river bank on a solid rock, which stands in a bend of the river facing E.S.E., 
and about 60 feet above it, and holds a commanding view of the country to the south for miles. 

It is itself, however, commanded at a distance of 800 yards by the very high ground rising behind Fazogli. 

Abu Shaneina is the most important village or town in Fazogli. It is here that the trade route from 
Beni Shangul strikes the Blue Nile, and it is chiefiy from that quarter that any considerable increase of trade with 
Abyssinia can be expected. It is the headquarters of a small frontier force furnishing outlying detachments north 
and south of the Blue Nile. Mek Khamis is Sheikh of the Jebelawin here and Ali Wad Rowaa of the Arabs. 

Kiri is the most prosperous (1900) looking village in Fazogli, and is built on what should be a very healthy site 
near the river. The Sheikh's name is Abu Ras Wad Sogheir. 

s 2 















The Dinkas. 



Cattle, etc. 


Masurkum is on the Beni Shangul Abu Shaneina road. The Sheikh, named Bikori, is an old and infirm man, 
but has evidently been a strong man in his time. He suffered considerably from Dervish raids, and has lost all his 

Dura, simsim, lubia, and tobacco are the principal crops cultivated, the former is of good quality, both Naggad and 
Kurgi being sown. In Gezan there is a considerable area under cultivation, but with this exception there is practically 
none south of a line drawn from Kiri through Jebel Kukura to Masurkum and thence up Khor Masurkum. 

In the Tomat villages, west of Jebel Fazogli, the dura crop is very fine, but simsim is chiefly grown between Kiri 
and Fazogli. 

Ground close to Tomat would undoubtedly repay cultivation, but at present the more easily cleared areas near 
the Nile are amply sufficient for the population. 

There are comparatively few cattle and sheep in the district, the people having suffered so much from raids. 

A good deal of trade is carried on with Beni Shangul and this is bound to develop. 

Fazogli produces a little gold, which is found in all the khors coming from Jebel Faronge : Khor El Dahab, near 
Gezan, being the richest. 

A good deal of coffee is imported from Abyssinia, as well as horses, mules, cattle, donkeys, and sheep. 

The idea of ever tapping the trade of the Abyssinian province of Gojjam is said to be out of the question owing 
to the apparent impossibility of finding a trade route free from physical difficulties of an insuperable kind. 

Donkeys or mules are the best transport animals all round, though camels do very well as long as their feet do 
not get sore. All the transport animals available for purchase, or otherwise, are those that come in from Abyssinia, 
and the supply is a very fluctuating one. 

(d) Dinkas on the White Nile. 


The Dinka country on the White Nile, extends from Jebelein southwards to about 10 miles south of Kodok, 
along the right bank ; it is uninhabited, however, except by Nomad Selim, north of Karshawal. 

The Dinkas, or Jange, as they are called by the Arabs, have no Mek like the Shilluks, but each section is separate 
and independent under its own sheikh, consequently, they were never able to unite to defend themselves against the 
depredations of slave traders and the Dervishes, who found them an easy prey. Many of their sheikhs at tlie present 
tim; are men who have been slaves in Cairo, and who have been repatriated either by Gordon or the present Sudan 
Government. Thus it is that, whilst the majority of the men are stark naked, one here and there meets a respectably 
dressed old man carrying a sunshade. 

The women ordinarily wear a goatskin apron in front and another behind, but the unmarried girls are usually 
content with a string of beads. 

The men mould their hair, mixed with red mud, into fantastic shapes, and sleep on a bed of cow-dung ash, with 
which their bodies are covered. The women do not usually thus disfigure themselves, and sleep on hide mats. 

The Dinkas are remarkable for their height and slender limbs and figures. They are not, however, of such fine 
physique as their neighbours the Shilluks. 

They are unenterprising and ignorant to a degree, and so unprogressive and rigidly conservative that any such 
up-to-date innovation as the introduction of donkeys* for transport purposes, an innovation admitted by themselves to 
be most desirable, is not adopted simply on the pretext that it was not the custom of their fathers and 

Thi;y consequently always walk, the men carrying long narrow bladed spears and a knob-kerry, and the women 
a large basket on their heads containing their food, etc. 

During the dry season the Dinkas desert the hinterland of the river, and descend with their flocks and herds to 
live near its banks, where the now dry marshes afford excellent grazing. 

The localities which they frequent mostly are Renk, El Wat, Jebel Ahmed Agha, Meshra Zeraf, Kaka (right bank), 
Khor Adar. There are police posts at Renk and Melut ; Renk being the headquarters of the District and residence 
of a British Inspector. 

On the arrival of the rains they, for the most part, retire inland, sometimes 20 or 30 miles, to their cultivation, which 
however, is little more than sufficient for their own requirements. The grain is stored in these cultivation villages, 
and is only brought to the river in the dry season in small quantities from time to time on the women's heads. 

Donkeys, and indeed any means of transport but their women's heads are unknown. If, therefore, it is desired 

* Since writing tliis, Bakhit Niok, a more progressive slieikli tliau hi« fellows, lias provided himself with both a lioree and donkey, 
other Bbeikhs are following his lead, and donkeys are becoming comparatively common in Northern Dinkalaud. 



The Dinkas. 


to purchase any dura from the Dinkas in the dry season, the would-be purchaser must be prepared to provide transport 
and to send it a day or so inland. 
Herds, etc. The Dinkas of the White Nile, who number about 8,000, own a good many cattle and sheep, and pay tribute on 

them to the Government partly in kind and partly in money (1904). According to a census made in 1903, the following 
were the estimated numbers of their herds and flocks: cattle, 8,000 ; sheep, 16,000 ; goats, 1:5,000. 

Though living in a grand game country they have no sporting instincts whatever, and rely on the Baggara Arabs 
to provide them with skins in exchange for dura. They fish to a certain extent, but are not nearly so expert as their 
neighbours the Shilluks, unlike whom they have no aquatic proclivities. 
Religion. A certain number, owing to their having travelled to Khartoum and even Cairo as slaves, profess the Moham- 

medan faith, but their number is few. The remainder believe in the existence of a being who rules their destiny, and 
whom they call Deng. He has many forms and shapes, from the spirit of a great departed Sheikh to the more familiar 
personality of a favourite cow. They also believe in the possibility of transferring their spirits to a particular animal for 
a particular purpose and for a stated time ; for instance, if an unwelcome individual is present, they annoy him in 
the guise of hyaenas at night until he departs. (Vide also Chap. VI, Section 2 (d), and Chap. VII.) 

(a) Arranging Marriage. — The intending bridegroom must obtain the consent of the girl's father or guardian, as 
the case may be, and settle the " maal " (purchase price). He does not necessarily pay the whole at the time, but 
later, if he finds the girl suits him, and does not have any dealings with other men, he pays the difference ; also 
sometimes after paying the full " maal " he may be ordered by a village council to pay an additional " maal " if he 
is a rich man. 

As a rule the " maal " is paid to the girl's father or guardians a year or so before the man marries her ; she remaining 
meanwhile in her father's house. If during this period of " engagement " the man comes to the conclusion that the 
girl is not suited to him, he can terminate the engagement, and receives back his cattle. No inter-marriage of blood 
relations is allowed under any circumstances, on the other hand, a man may marry all or any of his late father's widows 
(except of course his own mother). In this connection it is interesting to note that, if a girl is tampered with and 
subsequently becomes ill, it is held to be conclusive proof that she was tampered with by a blood relation, and the 
blood relations who could possibly have been responsible for the offence are ordered to pay a heavy fine to the girl's 

(6) Misconduct of a Fianci'e. — If a fiancee misconducts herself, the bridegroom elect receives back all the cattle 
that he may have paid to the girl's relations, but, if, on the other hand, he still chooses to marry her, he will not receive 
his cattle back, but will exact a " fine maal " from the man with whom the girl misconducted herself. If he does not 
choose to marry the girl he receives back his cattle, and the father of the girl receives the " fine maal " from the delinquent. 
If the man still marries the girl under these circumstances, he slaughters one of the cattle paid as " fine maal " and 
invites the whole village to dinner ; but if he does not marry her, the girl's father does not follow this custom of slaying 
the bull. 

The father or guardian who receives the marriage portion of the girl does not retain the whole to himself, but it 
is divided according to certain rules among the relations. A man having received a marriage portion on behalf of his 
daughter or ward, and the girl being still only " engaged," may not dispose of any of it, until the girl is actually married, 
and has entered her husband's house. 

(c) Misconduct after Marriage. — If a man has dealings with a married woman, her husband shall take a " fine 
maal " from the adulterer, two or three head of cattle according to the adulterer's wealth. If the wife go wrong, the 
husband may cast her off, and send her back to her people, and receive back from them the " maal " he originally 
paid, plus the issue of the said cattle since they left his hands. If the husband go wrong, the father or guardian of 
the girl he has wronged will take a fine " maal " from him ; his wife cannot divorce him. 

(d) Divorce.— li a man maltreats his wife she may complain to her father, who may free her by paying the husband 
back the original " maal," plus its issue. If the father has no cattle, he will receive his daughter into his house, and 
when she marries, recompense the late husband. 

If a man wishes to divorce his wife, and has good grounds for wishing to do so, he will return her to her father or 
guardian and receive back his original " maal," plus the issue or not, according to the circumstances of the cas3. 

If a man divorce his wife for misconduct, and there are children of the marriage, they will remain with him. 
Miscondact. (a) If a man misconduct himself with a girl he will pay to her father or relations a " maal " such as he would have 

paid had he wished to marry the girl in the usual way, and he must marry her. If, however, the father of the girl 
is not willing to marry his daughter to the man, he will not exact a full " maal " from him, but only a " fine maal " 
according to the man's wealth. If a girl misconduct herself, and dies from the effects, the man responsible will pay 
her father eight head of cattle. 

If a man misconduct himself with an engaged girl, and marries her in the place of the original fiancee he shall 
pay to her father the same " maal " as was paid in the first instance by the other man, and if the girl die in his house, 

The Binkas. 


he shall have no claim to receive back all or any of his " maal " from her father or whoever received his " maal," 
but in most cases the father will pay him a proportion as a favour. 

(b) Misconduct with a Blood Relation. — The man who is convicted of misconducting himself with a blood relation 
will pay to the girl's father one bull and one cow-calf. The bull will be cut into two halves, and afterwards devoured 
at a village feast ; the couple will not, of course, be allowed to marry. 

If a man has an adopted daughter, who has been paid to him as " blood maal," she is not allowed to marry out Blood maal 
of her adopted father's family, except in rare cases in which she happens to be a blood relation of her adopted family. 
A man thus possessing an adopted daughter, paid originally as a " blood maal," can terminate the blood feud by paying 
to her father or relations a small " maal " of cattle. 

Violating a " blood maal girl.'' — If a man has dealings with a girl who has been paid as a " blood maal," he shall 
be ordered to pay one head of cattle, which, however, can never be returned. If a man has connection with a girl 
who does not come under this category, he pays, as stated before, a certain " maal," which, however, is returned to 
him when the girl eventually marries, together with the issue of the " maal." 

If a wife die before she has been received into her husband's house, he receives back the " maal " he has paid in 
advance for her. If she die after being received into her husband's house, he does not, as a matter of course, receive 
his " maal " back, but the father will almost invariably pay him back half as a favour. If there are children of 
the marriage, the widower will not receive any cattle back. 

If a husband die his widow will remain with her late husband's relations unless her own relations choose to pay 
back the " maal " originally received for her, in which latter case the custody of the children is generally given to her 
late husband's people. 

If a man die and leave property, it goes to his sons, failing a son, if he leave a married daughter who has a son 
it goes to him. Failing any issue, his property goes to his male relations. The widow of a man will never receive his 

Death of a 

Death of a 

Dispo.sal of 

History of the Dinkas of the White Nile. 

This section of the Dinkas migrated from the Bahr-el-Ghazal about 130 or 150 years ago, as nearly as can be 
judged from various sources of information, and most of their customs, their character, and habits of daily life, are 
identical with the corresponding traits of the Bahr-el-Ghazal Dinkas as recorded by Schweinfurth. Some of the older 
Dinkas of the " Ibrahim " section, especially those whose wits have been sharpened by a visit to Cairo or Khartoum, 
appear to take a considerable interest in tracing back their history. 

At the time of the migration, the head of the Bahr-el-Ghazal Dinkas was one Akwai Chakab. He descended 
into the country on the light bank of the White Nile north of the Sobat, and drove out the Arab inhabitants; these were 
chiefly Fung, Abu Rof, and Jaalin, the latter being also partly on the left (west) bank. No mention is made of the 
presence of any Baggara Arabs on the west bank. Akwai Chakab was accompanied by one Kur Deng Achuk wad 
Agweir, and by his own son, Deng Karuma wad Akwai. Having seized the country and installed his own people, 

^ Akwai Chakab returned to his own country in the Bahr-el-Ghazal, and left the Government of his new country in the 
hands of his son, Deng Karuma and Kur Deng Achuk wad Agweir. Another son of Akwai Chakab accompanied his 
father in the seizure of the new territories ; this was Kolong wad Akwai, and to him was entrusted the command 
of the advance guard of the army. His orders were to push on ahead, spy out the country, and eventually attack 
Sennar and the El Ahamda, etc., and reinforcements would be supplied from the rear if necessary. 

On the conquest of the Sudan by Mohammed Ali Pasha, the invading " Turks " did not penetrate the east bank beyond 
Jebel Ahmed Agha ; how far south they went on the west bank is not stated. On the east bank, however, they had 
to fight the powerful Dinka forces from Muli (now called Renk) and did not always come off victors (Muli was at that 
time called by the Arabs " Hasoia "). The Dinkas, however, being forced to fall back, retreated up Khor Rau, east 
of Ahmed Agha, followed by the " Turks," who came up with them, and fell on them at the Debba Mabiu. The " Turks " 
completely routed them, and seized and carried off their cattle, but none of their women or children. Mention is made 
of the " Turks " fighting with the Shilluks near Kaka. The invading army then appears to have retired from the country, 
leaving the Dinkas to their own devices ; and they do not seem to have been troubled again for a considerable time. 
They were, however making mischief, and they admit that the evil days that befel them at a later date was the inevitable 
consequence of their own misdeeds. Strong enough to hold their own against other neighbouring tribes, they appear 
to have turned their attention to annoying the Government, and amongst other exploits, penetrated to Karkoj, killed 
Sheikh Abdallahi and some of his people, and robbed the remainder. The Governor-General of the Sudan at, or about 
the time of these occurrences, 186.3, was Musa Pasha Hamdi, and he detailed an army under the command of Mohamnied 
. Kheir, to go into the Dinka country and wipe out the Dinkas. This was the commencement of their troubles which 

Id not end till 1898. The first descent upon the Dinkas was in the Abialang district, otherwise known as the Dinka 

130 Selim Bar/f/nra, etc. 

Ibrahim. The inhabitants fled to Jebel Gule and threw themselves under the protection of Sheiith Regab wad Idris, and 
paid him heavy tribute on the understanding that he would arrange matters between themselves and the Government. 
Regab wad Idris appears to have accepted the tribute, and then to have sent word to Sennar that the fugitive Dinkas 
were in his power. Thereupon a force of Egy])tian soldiery was despatched from Sennar, and captured the fugitive 
Dinkas, whom they led off as slaves. The men were enrolled in the Nubian regiments, and the women and children 
sold. Orders subsequently came to release them, but a considerable number of the men were, nevertheless, kidnapped, 
and many remained in the regiments ; of the latter, there are now several still serving in the army as more or less senior 
officers. On those occasions when the Dinka forces defeated the Government troops, the locality of the battle has 
generally been called by the Dinkas by the name of the commander of the Government troops, such as the Island of 
Wad Ab Kona, of which the original Dinka name, also still used, was Gasa-el-Abiad. Other instances are Wad Ab Sheiba 
and (Jebel) Ahmed Agha. 

The result of these depredations was that the Dinkas were practically driven to exist as outlaws, living in the woods 
or in the inaccessible Nuer country. They never, however, lost their hold over their own country, and whenever the 
Government forces withdrew, they would return to the vicinity of their villages, ready to fly at a moment's notice. 

In later days, in the time of the Dervish regime, those Dinka districts which, on demand, paid up the whole of their 
cattle, were not further molested ; on the other hand, the people south of Jebel Ahmed Agha declined to fall in with 
this proposal, and were consequently perpetually harried and raided, and had many of their women and children carried 
off, the Dinka's first care being always to drive his cattle off to a place of safety. Since the establishment of a settled 
Government, the Dinkas have been returning in increasing numbers to their country, but the general complaint now 
is, that at the present time, hundreds, and even thousands of Dinkas are still in the service of those who seized them, 
or bought them in the old days, and who would, if they had an opportunity, return to their country. 

(e) Selim Baggara. 

The Selim Baggara, though really belonging to the left bank from opposite to Jebelein southwards nearly to 
Kaka, cross over to the right bank in considerable numbers during the dry season. They prefer to live amongst the 
Dinkas, as they rely on them principally for their grain supply, not being cultivators to any extent themselves. 
A good many of them are mounted on Abyssinian ponies (price 30 to 40 sheep, i.e., 3L to U.) on which they hunt 
elephant, buffalo, and giraffe in the most fearless manner, armed only with their long broad-headed Baggara spears. 
The skins of these animals are readily accepted by the Dinkas in exchange for dura. The Selim are divided into two 
sections, Um Tarif and Walad Mahbub ; the Sheikh of the former is Amin Musa,* and of the latter El Hag 
Suleiman, both live on the left bank opposite Jebelein. The tribe owns a considerable number of sheep, but little or 
no cattle. They cultivate to a small extent on the borders of the Gimma country, about 20 miles north-west from 

The Arab names for places are, as a rule, quite unknown to the Dinkas, and vice versd. 

(f) Shilluhs. 

From Kodok south, on the right bank, to the Sobat the inhabitants are mostly Shilluks (for description of whom 
vide Chap. VIII), 

* El Hag Suleiman is now (1904) Head-Sheikli of all Selim. 





(The So bat and tributaries, and country south of the Sobat and north of N. Lat. 5° between the Bahr El Jebel 

and Abyssinian frontier.) 

Section 1. — Description of the Sobat and its Tributaries. 

The Sobat rises on the Abyssinian plateau somewhere about east long. 36° and north lat. 7° 15', though its source River Sobat. 
has probably never been accurately determined, and flows generally from oast to west. 

For the first 260 miles (approximately), as far west as the junction of the Pibor*, it is known by the Abyssinians 
as the Baro, by the Nuers as the Kir, and by the Anuaks as the Upeno ; from this point to its junction with the 
White Nile, at a point some 55 miles by river south of Kodok and 460 miles (approximately) from its source, it is called 
the Sobat. 

In its descent from the plateau to Gambela, for the first 150 miles, it flows in a series of rapids through wooded, 
mountainous, and hilly country, in a rocky bed often not more than 40 yards wide. From Gambela to Finkio (15 miles) 
it increases in width to about 200 yards, but in the dry season is full of rocks, especially at the bends. Throughout 
the remainder of its journey to the Nile it meanders across an immense dead-flat alluvial grassy plain, varied here 
and there by extensive woods reaching down to the water's edge, but often nothing is visible for miles save swamp and 
grass with numerous termite hills, and but an occasional tree. During this part of its course its width varies as a rule 
from 150 to 300 yards, though occasionally it narrows to 30 or 40 yards in the marshy region between Balamkun and 
the Pibor. 

Working up stream.J the banks are, as a rule, firm and dry for the first 150 miles from Sobat mouth, and numerous Banks.t 
villages are seen built actually on them. The left bank is usually higher than the right, and both banks are higher 
than the country in their immediate vicinity, and thus narrow swamps running parallel to the river exist well on into 
the dry season. These marshes are often drained by the natives through cuts in the banks in order to capture the fish 
in them. Above the village of Shwai the banks are alternately marshy and firm. 

Both the Sobat and Baro, probably as far up-stream as Finkio, are navigable for steamers drawing 4^ feet of Naviga- 
water, from the middle of May till the end of December. About the middle of the latter month the appearance of "'^'^y- 
sandbanks makes navigation difficult, though it is probable a channel for small boats exists throughout the year. 

Both the Sobat and Baro are fordable at fairly frequent intervals in the dry season eastwards of the Dinka Fords, 

The current is generally estimated at from 2J to 3 miles per hour in flood ; in the dry season (February to May) Current, 
it is not more than 1 mile per hour. 

The current of the Baro in flood combined with the sharp bends and occasional narrowness of the river render 
[navigation difficult in places. 

The water of the Sobat in flood is of a reddish-yellow colour, whilst that of the Baro is similar to the colour of Water. 
[the Blue Nile or Atbara, being like them derived from the Abyssinian hills. 

The sources of supply of the Sobat are : — 

(i) The southern Abyssinian hills and the rains which drain westward from them. 

(ii) The vast marshes which lie between the White Nile and the Abyssinian hills, which keep the Pibor bank-full 
f till the middle or end of January. 

The Sobat reaches its lowest level about the end of January and commences to rise about the end of April or begin- Rise. 
[ ning of May. 

Petherick in April (low water), 1862, estimated the discharge of the Sobat at 120 cubic metres per second. The Discharge, 
[same authority on 5th June (after the rise had begun), 1863, reckoned the discharge at 233 cubic metres per second. 
For later calculations, vide footnote p. 111. 

* Abyssinian boundary. 

t During the driest season of the year there is no difficulty in marching along either bank. Between Jtang and Nasser the best 
iToad is along tlie right bank. 

t For distances along the Sobat, vide p. 152. 


Tribes of the Sobat. 

A dura (loop 
of the Bail)). 



(west of 

Nuers (Sobat 
and Baro). 

A large loop of the Baro takes ofE from the main stream near the village of Gadjak* on the south bank, and enters 
the Baro again some 14 miles to the east of the Sobat-Pibor junction. This river is known by the natives as the Adura. 
Although seemingly a large and important loop, it was found to be quite unnavigable in July, when the river was nearly 
full, owing to the existence of a large number of sand-banks and islands. Another loop south of the Adura is said 
to be formed by a stream known as the Mokwai. This has a very insignificant exit from the Baro, only some 5 or 6 
miles to the east of the Adura exit, but is reported in its lower reaches to be an important stream in flood time, 
possibly after it is joined (as it is said to be) by the Bela river. The combined stream enters the Pibor, by native report, 
and, in that case, the river, followed by Major Capper for some 20 miles of its course, is probably this one. 

From the junction of the river Sobat with the White Nile, for the first 30 or 40 miles up-stream, both banks of 
the Sobat are occupied by the Shilluks. For full description of this tribe, see Chap. VIII. 

The Dinka tribe thence occupy both banks of the river Sobat to about 32° 16' east, villages of first Shilluks and 
then Dinkas being very numerous from the Sobat mouth up to this point, which is near the village of Lajak. They 
are shy and suspicious, but amenable to kindness and trade. 

The Dinkas of the Sobat have been worsted in the frequent forays of the more powerful Nuers into their district. 
They complain bitterly of the spoliation of their herds by the Nuers, and state that many of their children, now 
growing into manhood as Nuers, were torn from them in the constant raids of the Nuer tribe. The Dinkas, in spite 
of this alleged oppression, own large numbers of sheep, goats, and cattle {vide details Appendix F, p. 330). The 
Dinkas on the Sobat are far more intelligent and energetic than their kinsmen on the White Nile, and cultivate 
suflBcient grain and tobacco for their own needs. 

For the most part the Dinka territory along the Sobat consists of open, treeless, grass plains. Fifteen to 20 miles 
east of Lajak the river banks are uninhabited until the small village of Ashel is reached, which is the commencement 
of a small tract of Anuak country, sandwiched in between the Dinkas in the west and the large and powerful Nuer 
tribe to the east. 

The small section of Anuaks referred to here only occupy some 25 to 30 miles of the river bank as far as the village 
of Wegin, which is the boundary between them and the Nuer tribe. The different tribes hereabouts are considerably 
intermingled, as they appear to intermarryf to a large extent, and Anuaks may be found living amongst the Nuers 
even as far east as Nasser. Their position would not, however, appear to be a very enviable one, as the men are more 
or less slaves of the Nuers, and are called upon to perform many household and menial duties for their more powerful 
neighbours ; at the same time the Anuaks appear to have no fear of entering Nuer territory. 

The chief villages of the Anuaks, between Ashel and Wegin on the left bank of the river, are Yakwoik, Fatiwanyang 
and Shwai. A friendly Sheikh, Aiwel Wad Agwot, lives at Fatiwanyang. He is constantly to be seen at Nasser 
Post, and also occasionally even at Kodok. 

This section of the Anuaks is a small and unimportant one ; in general appearance they closely resemble the Nuers. 
They appear to grow very little food, barely more than sufficient for their own requirements, but at the same time 
have flocks of sheep and goats and a few herds of cattle. 

Their country is well wooded for the most part, and, fiom native accounts, numerous herds of elephants constitute 
a very real source of danger to travelling, more especially at night time. Game is plentiful on both banks of the river 
in December, 1899. Very little trade has been carried on with these natives, but a few goats and sheep can be purchased 
for brass wire ; the price being about a 6-foot length of wire for a sheep. Latterly, however, since more intimate com- 
munication with Nasser Post has been established, the demand for cloth has increased. 

The Nuers are by far the most powerful and numerous tribe living along the Sobat river. Originally they appear, from 
native accounts, to have occupied tracts of country south of the Sobat in the neighbourhood of Bor and the Bahr 
El Ghazal, but these sections trekked north, and ousted the more weakly tribes Hving on the Sobat, and occupied their 
country. The Falangs and Bonjaks no longer exist, their territory being occupied by the Nuers. There appear to be 
three separate factions of Nuers at the present day occupying the Sobat valley, who, if native accounts are to be 
believed, are more or less at enmity with each other, owing to family disagreements. It is often difficult in 
consequence to get guides from one part of the country to enter that occupied by a rival section. For instance, Sheikh 
Jok's people will not readily enter the territory of the Nuers in the neighbourhood of Nasser Post ; whilst these again 
will refuse to proceed further east along the Baro than the village of Barrakwik. 

The Nuer territory along the Sobat and Baro rivers extends from about east 32° 33' to about 34° 10'. Their territory 
on the right bank of the Baro as far east as the Khor GarreJ (33° 48' approximately) belongs to the Sudan, 
whilst east of this khor and the whole of the left bank of the Baro belongs to Abyssinia. From Wegin village to 

* Between the Pibor and this point is a dreary, treeless, uninhabitated region of marsh. Above Gadjak tlie banks are fiiuly 
timbered, and the river scenery is quite beautiful. 

t Many Anuaks are to be seen marked with the Nuer tribal mark, i.e., parallel horizontal lines across the forehead. 
X Vide footnote to p. 135. 

Tribes of the Sobat. 


Nasser Post the country is probably the finest occupied by the Nuers, as it is for the most part well wooded, and 
in places one passes through really beautiful park-like country. Villages are numerous, and several of the districts, 
such as Fauwel and Jurwel, are well cultivated. East of the Pibor their country bordering the Baro is a desolate marsh! 
Although the huts and villages of the Nuers hereabouts are well and substantially built, the natives themselves 
are shy, suspicious, indolent and altogether a very low type of humanity. They appear to cultivate only such small 
plots of ground in the immediate vicinity of their villages as will suffice for their own requirements for perhaps six 


months in the year, whilst during the remainder of the year they live chiefly on fish, which, existing in great quantities, 
are easily speared during the dry season of the year. They do not appear to hunt at all. 

Physically, the men are tall and well-built, but show little signs of muscular development, being generally long- 
limbed and wiry. They are all stark naked, and cover themselves from head to foot with cow dung ash, whicii 
gives them a particularly filthy appearance and renders their skin extremely rough and coarse. They make no, 
attempt to adorn themselves, but are extremely anxious to procure brass wire with which to make for themselves 
bracelets extending from the wrist to near the elbow. This seems to be about their only vanity. They are all armed 

T 2 


Upper Sobat. 

Aniiaks or 
(E. of 

with spears, of which every man carries two or three. Their weapon of defence consists of an oval-shaped buffalo-hide 
shield. Bows and arrows they do not appear to possess. 

The elder married women are as filthy as the men in appearance. They all, however, wear a leather apron or skin 
fastened round their waists. The younger girls and unmarried women wear no such covering, and, like the men, are 
quite naked. 

The right bank of the Sobat near Nasser Post is densely populated as far as the junction of the Sobat and Pibor 
rivers, there being several large and important villages such as Kwoinlualtong, Taufot, and Ajungmir in addition to 
smaller ones. The left bank of the Sobat is not inhabited, as from Nasser to the Pibor a considerable portion of the 
country is inundated when the rivers are full. 

East of the Sobat-Pibor junction, the country through which the Baro flows may be described, until Anuak territory 
is reached, as worthless. For the most part it consists of open treeless grass plains, which, in the vicinity of the river, 
are inundated for months at a time. The population is small, and confined to villages some distance apart, and absolutely 
no signs of cultivation are seen, except on a large island near the border of Anuak territory. 

This perhaps may be explained by the fact that the Nuers in the dry season of the year occupy villages near the 
river banks, which are merely used as large fishing villages during the time the rivers are low ; they subsist almost 
entirely then on the fish speared in the many pools which are formed by the receding waters of the rivers. When the 
rivers become full again, and the country is inundated, they withdraw to their permanent quarters further inland, where 
they probably merely cultivate during the rainy season of the year, between the months of May and November. 

Several of the large villages to the east of the Pibor-Sobat junction, such as Taiyau, Gunjang, Gadjak and others 
which were teeming with life in the month of January, were deserted in July when a visit was paid by steamer to Itang. 

With the Nuers of the Sobat and Baro rivers very little trade can be done, as they jiossess little or no grain, living 
chiefly on fish. They possess, however, numerous flocks of goats and sheep in the vicinity of Nasser Post, and also some 
magnificent herds of cattle at Ajungmir. Thirty-five goats and sheep were obtained in exchange for a cow. Large 
opaque white beads, about the size of a pea, are in request as articles of barter, but brass wire "No. 8 " is most in demand , 
and a desire for cloth is beginning to rise. 

The eastern Anuaks of the Baro (or Ufeno, as they call it) inhabit that portion of the river bank extending east 
of 34° 10' to the mouth of the Baro river gorge at the foot of the Abyssinian hills, and the whole of their territory, 
with the exception of a small enclave round Itang,* which is leased to the Sudan Government, belongs to Abyssinia. 

This tract of country is probably the most fertile anywhere along the river after it enters the plains. It is well 
wooded, and to a great extent free of those large expanses of swamp found lower down the river in Nuer territory. The 
numerous huts and hamlets, with which the river banks are dotted, are generally built close to the edge of the bank 
overlooking the river, usually on mounds slightly raised above the normal level of the bank. These huts are neatly 
built of mud and wattle with grass roofs, and are scrupulously clean and well kept. They are, as a rule, surrounded 
by a fence of tall reeds and grass, giving absolute privacy to the occupants. Within the enclosure so formed, in addition 
to several huts for the family, are the granaries, and also other enclosures for the herding of goats and sheep at night 
time. The interior is most carefully plastered over with mud and free of dust and dirt. The natives of this region 
are more advanced in ideas of civilisation than any others living along the Sobat and Baro in the plains. This is possibly 
due to their being in closer touch with the Gallas, with whom they trade considerably, than any of the more western 
tribes are. 

They are a most peaceful, friendly and industrious race, and are great agriculturists. Miles and miles along the 
river banks are diligently cultivated by them twice a year, and splendid crops spring up from the generous soil. 

Physically the Anuaks are not such a tall race as the Nuers, but their muscular development is perhaps finer. This 
is probably due to their more nourishing grain food all the year round, but tliey also supplement their grain largely 
with fish during the dry seasons of the year. Although they rarely seem to kill their goats and sheep for food, like the 
Nuers, they are extremely fond of meat, and will constantly beg a white man to come and shoot a hippopotamus for 
them, so that they may indulge in a real gorge. 

As a rule the men are more decently clad than the Nuers, as many of them wear beautifully cured skins, as soft 
as chamois leather, round the loins. They are far cleaner, better groomed, and smarter looking in every way than the 
Nuers. A large number of the Anuaks, especially in the neighbourhood of Pokum and Finkio, wear splendid ivory 
bracelets on the arms. Some of these are as much as 4 to 5 inches in depth, and it is by no means uncommon to see 
a man with one such bracelet on the upper arm, and two somewhat smaller ones on the fore-arm. 

One very curious weapon, to be seen nowhere else, is found among the Anuaks. This consists of a spear, the head 
of which is manufactured from a legbone of a giraffe, polished down to about 1 inch or J inch in diameter, and sharpened 
to a fine point. These curios are obtainable for about five ^-piastre pieces. 

♦ Now moved to Finkio. 

Annnhs ; Nasser, etc. 135 

The Anuaks would not appear to be either a courageous or warlike race like the Nuers, and seem content to merely 
cultivate their fields and remain at peace with their neighbours. Their spears are generally small headed, with long 
handles, and it is by no means unusual to see some men armed with nothing but sharp-pointed sticks hardened at the 
ends. Knobkerries are carried by most men. The older married women all wear skins, cured or otherwise, round the 
loins. Some of these are daintily picked out with a border of vari-coloured small beads.. A large quantity of beads 
are also very commonly worn both round the waist and neck. The attire of the younger women and girls is really most 
attractive. In addition to a numerous accumulation of beads round the neck, they wear a large number of strings 
of beads round the waist of many difTerent colours, whilst a small fringe, as it were, of generally white opaque or light 
blue and white beads depends in front and behind, some 2 to 3 inches in length round the body. As the girls are often 
very beautifully formed, and possess pleasant, laughing and occasionally really pretty faces, a group of them together 
forms a most charming picture of modest maidenhood. 

The upper reaches of the Baro are not well cultivated, and beyond the point where the Faidherh was abandoned, 
the population is very scanty, and little or no food is obtainable from the natives ; the river banks become very stony 
and thickly wooded, and what little cultivation there is to be seen hereabouts is generally on the islands. 

Nasser, situated on the left bank of the Sobat, 160 miles above its junction with the White Nile, is the residence pHncipal 
of a police officer and detachment of police. It is also garrisoned by half a company of a Sudanese battalion under villages, 
a British officer (January, 1904). Little trade is as yet carried on as the Nuers who live in the vicinity have not yet got Nasser, 
over their aversion to dealings with a civilized Government. 

By the treaty of May, 1902, the Emperor Menelek agreed to lease to the Anglo-Egyptian Government an area itan<' 
of about 1,000 acres in the neighbourhood of Itang, for the purpose of forming a trading station there. Itangis on (Fiukio). 
the right bank of the Baro, roughly 100 miles above Nasser, and is in the Anuak country ; a station was established 
here in January, 1901. As, however, the site is not a very suitable one a more convenient one at Finkio further east 
has been adopted. The Sheikh of Finkio is named Ojilo. 

Although it is not practicable for probably five or six months in the year to maintain direct steamer communica- 
tion with Nasser, the post should be absolutely self supporting. Shallow draught steamers drawing say 15 inches 
could, however, probably reach Finkio during 10 months of the year. 

In addition to grain of various kinds, cotton is also grown by the natives in small quantities, and tobacco is very 
commonly to be obtained. Flocks of goats and sheep are numerous ; but the natives will not readily part with their 
live stock. Cattle are only to be seen very rarely, as the natives fear to possess these lest they should attract the cupidity 
of the Abyssinians. 

The Anuaks are very ready to sell flour and grain in exchange for beads, more especially in the Finkio district, 
which is very largely populated. They also hire themselves readily as carriers. 

The most popular bead is a small light blue opaque one, the only opaque species of small bead obtainable in Cairo. 
A string of this bead, sufficiently large to pass over the head on to the neck, will purchase from 1 to IJ pounds of flour, 
and perhaps 2 pounds of grain. A fowl can also be obtained for about the same quantity of beads. Possibly white 
or small green opaque beads would be equally sought after, but a blue and white bead, known in East Africa as the 
" punda malia " (zebra), would, everywhere in these regions, be eagerly sought after by the natives. Many of the Anuaks 
wear these beads, though how this species has got into the country, except, perhaps, gradually from the north of Lake 
Rudolf, where they may have been bartered in 1 898, is difficult to understand. 

The best trade goods would be white, green, pale blue (all must be opaque and not glass) and " punda malia." 
Beads would be the main purchasing medium for grain, and perhaps brass wire and cloth for goats and sheep. 

In a short time money may be introduced — as at Kodok amongst the Shilluks — as the Gallas, being neighbours 
of the Anuaks, and familiar with the Maria Theresa dollar, would readily bring down goats and sheep for sale, and the 
Anuaks would probably soon follow suit. 

Besides tapping the fertile food-producing districts of the Anuaks, trade in ivory, cof!ee, live stock, donkeys, and 
mules, and in addition, perhaps gold and iron, in smaller quantities, will spring up with the Gallas when they find a 
ready market for their goods. 

Several more or less important streams and khors join the Baro in its upper stony region on both banks. Chief Tiibutiuies 
of these are the Sako on the right bank and the Bonga on left bank. ^ Sobat and 

Lower down on the right bank, Khor Jokau or Garre joins the Baro by, some say, two mouths, one at Jokau 

about 40 miles west of Itang, the other at Machar* 15 miles further west, where the post to mark the Sudan- Abyssinia 

frontier has been erected. 

* Though the sup|)o.sef] mouth at Macliar is deep and .30 yards wide, whilst that at Jokan is only 5 yards wide, there seems good 
reason to doubt if the former i.s in any way connected with the Khor Ciarre. Capt. Wilson was informed by the natives in February, 
1!)04, when the Machar was entirely dried up, whilst the Jokau was a strong flowing stream 3 feet deep, that the former is not a mouth 
of the Garre. In June, 1904, the discharge of the Jokau was very marked, being of a muddy-white colour sundar to the Pibor. 
At Machar, on the other hand, though the klior did contain water, perhaps an overflow from the Baro, no discharge was noticeable. 


Trihutnries of (he Sobat. 


on left bank. 
NiRol or 






Trade goodii. 


of Pilxir. 
The -Agwei 
(tiwynn), or 
(Austin), or 
Ruzi II 
(WellbyX or 

The Khor Garre, which forms the boundary between the Sudan and Abyssinia in these regions, brings down a large 
quantity of water in flood time from the Galla hills. In the dry season water stands in pools in its bed. 

For the first 20 miles from its mouth this khor is inhabited by or belongs to the Nuers, then for a few miles by the 
Anuaks or Yambos, whose district is called Chai, and higher up by Burun. 

About 8 miles east of the Pibor junction, Khor Makeir comes in on the right bank. This, near its mouth, is deep, 
with a sandy bed 30 yards wide. It has not been explored, but is believed by some to be the mouth of the Sonka, 
in which case it has its origin near Jebel Sonka in the Galla hills south of Kirin. Others say it is only a spill from 
the Baro. 

The River Nigol (Nuer) or Aluro (Anuak) enters the Baro about 17 miles below Itang. It appears to have its origin 
on the Abyssinian plateau, and for some 25 miles before its junction with the Baro it flows parallel to that river, at 
a distance often of little more than a mile. In flood time it is a most formidable obstacle, as it forms large areas 
of swamp. Its entry into the Baro, near the border between Anuak and Nuer territory, is a very insignificant one, 
and barely discernible, as it spills out into a large swamp, near the village of Methok, before it reaches the actual 
river, and apparently the water gradually finds its way into the river through a thick forest-growth of trees by two 
small channels only a few feet wide. From the point where the Adura takes off from the Baro, the banks of the 
latter river are thickly wooded with sycamore and other trees as far as the eastern boundary of Nuer territory. 

The Pibor flows generally from south to north, and enters the Sobat river at a point about 25 miles above Nasser 
and about 200 miles from its (Sobat) mouth. It is by far the most important tributary of the Sobat. The Pibor was 
found (June, 1903) to be blocked by sudd immediately above the Akobo junction, and so its upper waters remained 
unexplored until Septembar, 1904.* The greenish colour of its water would lead one to suppose that it receives its 
supply from vast marshes in the plain between the Akobo and the Nile, rather than from the Abyssinian plateau. f 

The banks of the lower Pibor are, as a rule, swampy, especially at the season when the river is fullest. The 
adjoining country is flat and covered with grass, with but few trees, though, south of Koratong, the banks are firm 
and dry, and trees become general, especially on the right bank. 

The waterway of the Pibor in its lower reaches is exceedingly narrow, a steamer frequently touches the reeds 
of either bank simultaneously. About 40 miles from its mouth, however, it widens to from 40 to 100 yards. 

The Pibor river has not (1903) been navigated by steamer in the months of February, March, and April, during 
which period it appears probable navigation would be difficult, if not impossible. During the rest of the year the average 
depth of water is at least 10 feet. 

The discharge at the mouth of the Pibor, calculated by Captain H. H. Wilson in October, 1901, worked out at 
roughly 13,-500 gallons per second. The width of the river here being about 80 yards, of which about 30 yards was 
blocked by sudd. The maximum depth was nearly 30 feet, and the current rather more than 1 mile an hour. 

There is a route over comparatively dry country from Nasser to Waratong (45 miles approximately) 

The inhabitants of the lower Pibor are Nuers, whose principal villages are a group at Koratong and another at Kur, 
both situated on the left bank. These appear to be the permanent homes of this section (Sheikh Jok's) of Nuers, but in 
the dry season they occupy other villages both north and south along the Pibor, the most important of which is Bil (right 
bank) near the junction of the Gelo River ; during this season Nuers from other districts visit the Pibor for fishing. 

The Nuers of the Pibor do not differ in any essential degree from those of the Sobat and Baro, and are just as 
disinclined as their kinsmen to recognise the advantages of civilisation. 

Dura was purchased from the late Sheikh Yowe's (now Jok's) people for small white and dark blue beads, not 
much larger than a pin's head. A string sufficiently large to pass over the head on to the neck purchased from 1 pound 
to li pounds of unground grain. A spear length of brass wire, about 9 feet in length, purchased a goat of average size. 
Coloured fancy cloth will soon be in much request. 

A few Anuaks are found on the right bank, these are more or less subject to the Nuers. Their Sheikh is Okwai. 

The "Agwei" River joins the Pibor about 17 miles south of the Akobo junction. It was found by the Faivre 
Expedition (1898), by whom it was named the Adjouaro, to rise in the Southern Boma hills and to flow northwards 
to within a few miles of th'j left bank of the Akobo, and then bending westwards to flow parallel with that river to 
the Pibor, or, as they called it, the Adjouba (Agibba ?). The Agwei was also heard of by Major Austin when marching 
through Boma ; it was described as a big river and was named by him the Neubari. It is also probably the same as 
WeUby's Ruzi II. 

In September, 1901, Major Gwynn explored this branch of the Pibor in a steam-launch for 55 miles from 
its mouth, when further progress was arrested by heavy sudd. He describes it as a fine stream flowing between well- 
defined banks, averaging 3 feet above the level of the river in flood and 60 to 80 yards apart. In places, however, 
it had overflown its banks and flooded the adjoining country to a considerable depth. The average width of 

* For description of Upper Pibor, vide ]x lijl. 

t In June, 1904, the {iJBcharge at its mouth was observed to be a dirty-wliite colour. 

Tributaries of the Film-; Alobo. 137 

waterway, which was frequently obstructed by light sudd ^blocks, was 30 yards, depth 20 feet, and current 2 to 2J 
miles per hour. The banks of the Agwei were stated by Anuaks to be inhabited partly by people of their own tribe 
and partly by Agibbas. Their description of its upper course appears to agree with the theory that it is the Neubari, 
and that it is connected with the Akobo, as Major Austin surmised, by the Oboth. 

The River Akobo or Juba, which rises in the Domme Hills (Abyssinia) forming part of the watershed between the The Akobo 
River Omo and the Nile, about north lat. 6° 30' east, long. 35° 45', flows generally in a north-easterly direction, and for or Juba. 
the first 100 miles through more or less hilly country ; it then enters the plains and eventually joins the Pibor about 
70 miles from its mouth. 

The ill-fated Bc'ittego struck this river (January, 1897) about 40 miles from its source, and found it to be about 
25 yards wide and about 18 inches deep, its banks being much overgrown with very high grass which impeded travelling 
considerably. It was found to be uninhabited for about 45 miles further west, when the first Anuak village was reached. 
This was the most eastern point on this river reached by Major Austin's Expedition (1901). 

The Akobo river forms the boundary between the Sudan and Abyssinia in these regions. The following interesting 
account of the Akobo and its inhabitants is taken from Major Austin's Report : — 

" On our journey south from Nasser, we retraced our footsteps of the previous year along the River Pibor through 
Nuer territory until we reached the junction of that river with the Akobo. Here we found a small colony of Anuaks 
settled down for the coming dry season with a view to carrying out fishing operations, and without difficulty obtained 
the services of two guides. For our first two marches we proceeded east along the river, the banks of which are some- 
what thickly wooded with thorn bush, amidst which, here and there, we came upon small families of Anuaks enjoying 
a precarious kind of existence on fish and the frugal products of the woods. These natives were all without exception 
very timid, and generally had cleared out of their cosy little arbours before the head of the caravan had reached them. 
They are very poor and wretched in appearance, the men being quite naked and possessing very few adornments. 

" The elderly women merely content themselves with a small goatskin worn round the waist, whilst the younger 
women, like the men, are devoid of covering. They lack the prosperous and smart bearing of the U^eno (or Baro River 
Anuaks), and in general characteristics closely resemble those of the Gelo. 

" Some 30 miles to the east of its junction with the Pibor the banks of the Akobo become generally very swampy, 
and the river was unapproachable at the time we were travelling along it (February). No villages were seen until we 
reached long. 33° 40', where there was a small one, Bor by name, situated at the base of a single tree, surrounded on 
all sides by swamp. From near here a track runs in a southerly direction to Bonjak, reported to be 30 to 40 miles 
distant, and no water on the road. 

" Settled villages become somewhat more frequent from that point until the Tedo district is reached. This is 
fairly thickly populated on both banks of the river, and for the first time we came across a considerable amount of culti- 
vation. A large khor enters the Akobo from the east hereabouts, which probably has its origin in the Abyssinian 
highlands, whilst, from the village of Neum, a broad loop takes off from the Akobo and re-enters that river again some 
5 or 6 miles further north. Up to this point the country had been chiefly open grass land, very sparsely wooded with 
trees, and occasional small groves of lalob, but it now became well wooded, and the swampy areas less frequent. Small 
villages were established at closer intervals, but the natives remained very timid and suspicious, and it was difficult 
in consequence to obtain the services of guides, as the larger number of the inhabitants concealed themselves on the 
approach of the caravan. 

" The Anuak territory terminates at the junction of the Akobo and Ajibur streams, after which comes a long 
stretch of uninhabited country extending to the foot of the Boma hills. The district of Bula, some distance to the east, 
is reported by the Anuaks to be inhabited by men of a fair complexion — possibly Gallas. The Anuaks of the Akobo 
possess but few flocks of goats and sheep, and apparently no cattle. In addition to grain, they probably subsist to a 
large extent in the dry season on fish, as fish weirs and traps are occasionally met with in the river. 

" The average width of the Akobo in its lower reaches is 20 yards, and depth 7 feet, current 3 miles an hour Width, 
(February) ; higher up above Neum its width increases to 40 to GO yards, and its depth diminishes to 18 inches. Its !j,®jjj''|.j',j.j.gjjj 
banks are generally high and steep. In its upper portions it flows over a lava bed. 

" Small dug-out canoes are also used by the natives for travelling along the river. Navigation in a small launch Naviga- 
would probably be quite possible as far as Neum for several months in the year. The larger Nile steamers would most bihty. 
likely be unable to navigate this stream owing to the extraordinary sharp curves and bends of the river, the stream 
when in flood being very swift. It is quite possible, however, that a powerful launch, drawing, say, 18 inches of water, 
might, at full flood time, be able to proceed, perhaps, as far as Melile, although extreme caution would have to be 

E:ved, for in parts the river flows over a lava bed, whilst in others, fallen trees in the river might prove dangerous." 
The discharge of the Akobo near its mouth was calculated by Captain H. Wilson to be 2,185 gallons per second Discharge. 
Jtober, 1901. There was then a clear waterway 15 yards wide and 14 feet deep, on each side of which were belts 
dd from 20 to 30 yards wide. 




Ajibur, or 
Kuzi I. 

Gelo River. 

The Ajibur (Austin) or Ruzi 1 (Wellby), a small stream rising on the Boma hills, flows northwards to the Akobo 
and joins it on the left bank about 80 miles from its (Akobo) source. Water was standing in pools in its bed in 
February, 1901. 

The Gelo River rises in the Mocha hills (Abyssinian), situate about east long. 36°, north lat. 7° 30', and flows 
generally in a westerly direction to the Pibor, which it enters on the right bank 26 miles above its junction with the 

Mr. Oscar Neumann, who explored this river in 1901, considers it a very important source of supply of the Sobat, 
and far more so than the Akobo river, which he thinks comparatively insignificant. Mr. Neumann is strongly of opinion 
that after traversing Lake Tata the river divides, one branch flowing into the Pibor, as above stated, the other or 
others flowing northwards towards the Baro. Thougli Bottego seems to have had the same opinion, Major Austin 
does not lend much credence to this theory. 

Neumann gives the following description of the upper regions adjoining this river : — 

" In Shekho I found a large river running westwards. I believed this river to be the Gelo, discovered near its 
junction with the Ajuba by the Italian Bottego, an opinion which was confirmed afterwards. Travelling became very 
difficult here. The western slopes of the south Ethiopian plateau are cut by many deep ravines; the roads, therefore, 
were narrow and bad, and many of my mules became wounded and useless. As it flows westwards, the River Gelo 
is lined on both sides by the densest forest. I could march only about 2 or 3 miles each day, and to cover that distance 
the men had mostly to cut the way with axes and bush knives from morning to noon, after which the caravan was 
able to proceed. The inhabitants of this forest are the Mashango, who are very seldom seen, but we often found large 
traps made for hippopotami and waterbucks, and loops made of creepers for monkeys and other small animals going 
to the water. Already in Gimirra I had seen, far away to the west, a long mountain chain running from north to south, 
called by the Galla ' Gurafarda ' that is to say, ' horse's ear,' from a sharp double peak in the middle. It took more 
than three weeks from Gimirra to reach the point where the Gelo pierces the mountains, forming magnificent cascades. 
Some days after passing this gap, I saw from a bamboo-covered hill in the west a boundless bush and grass-covered 
dead flat plain, the plain of the Sobat and the beginning of the Sudan. Only a few granite hills are scattered over it. 
Ascending one of these I saw, far away, a large lake — Lake Tata — through which the River Gelo runs. Here we found 
the first villages of the Yambo or Anuak, who were the first true Nilotic people I met. They are a division of the 
great Shilluk tribe, which is spread over the whole Eastern Sudan, and extends southwards to the east short of Lake 
Victoria. The few samples I obtained of their language show that it is scarcely distinguishable from that of the 
Kavirondo people on the east shores of Lake Victoria, whose country I passed on my first African journey in 1894. 

" The land now became more and more swampy. The Anuaks, poverty-stricken through many Abyssinian ' razzias,' 
live hidden away on small islands in these swamps. A large part of the people have migrated westward, and live in a 
state of semi-slavery under the protection of the more powerful Nuer, near the Egyptian fort of Nasser on the Sobat. 

"Approaching Lake Tata the swamps became so numerous and deep that I turned south and marched to the village 
Neum, where I struck Bottego's route. The attempt to march along the northern bank of the Akobo failed, because 
we stuck fast in the swamps, where I lost many of my mules ; so, after two days, I marched back to Neum and crossed 
the Akobo. The country on the left shore of the river, which had here a north-westerly direction, was drier." 

Major Austin, gives an interesting description of the river and country west of Lake Tata : — 

" The Anuaks of the Gelo river district need very little description, and, as practically little was seen of them 
except when passing their villages, not much information was obtained regarding them. As compared with their 
compatriots on the Ufeno river, they appear to be a far less prosperous race, and, physically, might be described as 
an anaemic-looking tribe, probably due to the fact that the tract of country they inhabit is for nionths at a time one 
vast swamp, and unhealthy in consequence. They are more suspicious and shy than the northern section, but not 
really unfriendly in any way, as we had no difficulty in obtaining guides from them. They do not take the same pride 
in their personal appearance as those of the Upeno, and few of the men wear skins. The women are less particular 
also, and unhesitatingly entered the river at Patok devoid of all clothing, and washed themselves on the bank before 
our men. The unmarried women, like those of the Nuers, deem it unnecessary to provide themselves with any covering. 
Beads are worn, but not in the same quantities nor with the same taste as further north. 

" The right bank of the Gelo, as far west as about east 33° 50', is generally well-wooded some little distace from 
the river, but the left bank west of about east 33° 50' is absolutely devoid of a tree or even almost of a shrub. An 
open treeless grass plain appears to extend south until the Akobo river is reached. 

" Patok, the first village on the Gelo reached by the survey party, is one of very considerable size, skilfully concealed 
in a thick belt of wood, the interior of which has been cleared to a large extent. The ^dllage is enclosed by a stockade 
of tree trunks and branches for defensive purposes. 

" Most of the large villages along the Gelo, such as the Otwol, Chiro, Oran group, Goin, and Ungela are similarly 
concealed inside belts of tall trees, and surrounded by stockades. 

Odo and other Trihitaries of Sohat. 


" These villages are situated some distance from the river, as the expanse of swamp bordering the Gelo prevents 
villages being built nearer to its banks. At the height of the rainy season it appears probable that the whole country 
north of the Gelo and between that river and the Baro is one vast swamp, quite impracticable for transport animals. 

" The width of the Gelo west of Lake Tata varies as a rule from (iO to 100 yards. At its junction with the Pibor 
its width is not more than 30 to 40 yards, whilst its current is very swift. 

" As the Gelo is followed along its banks, no other stream appears to flow into it, although several swampy khors 
issuing from the river are crossed, flowing in a northerly direction. These are reported to join the Bela river and 
to flow into the Mokwai. 

" Along the Gelo, beyond a small patch of cultivation on the river bank near the village of Patok, no other signs 
of civilization are evident, except in a few diminutive cleared spaces in the woods ; no food is obtainable from these 
natives. That they must subsist on grain to a large extent appears to stand to reason, so it is possible their fields, 
like their villages, are concealed in the midst of woods, with which the country abounds. Like the Nuers and Anuaks 
of the Baro these natives possess small dug-out canoes for crossing the Gelo, and employ them also in their fishing 

" To the west of Perbong two other villages, Ametha and Otwol, are reported to exist in Anuak territory hereabouts, 
and these two probably depend on wells for their water supply, as they must be quite 3 to 4 miles distant from the 
river, and no signs of tracks leading from or to the Gelo are visible. Goats and sheep are only seen in very small numbers. 

" In normal years it is doubtful if this tract of country can be traversed much later than the middle of April with 
transport animals,* as once the rains set in the whole country is rapidly converted into bog, through which laden animals, 
especially donkeys, are quite unable to travel. During the dry seasons of the year large herds of elephants roam over 
these grassy plains and find both food and shade in the forest growth on the north bank of the Gelo. It is to these 
regions the Abyssinians descend in large numbers yearly from the western edge of the plateau, on ivory hunting 
expeditions, and traces of recent Abyssinian encampments were on several occasions met with. Before the rains break, 
however, these parties return to their homes, and we were warned at Gore by Fitorari Hili that we would find the 
country impracticable for animals once the rains set in, and this we certainly found to be the case." 

The River Mokwai or Bela appears to flow westwards to the Pibor from the Gurafarda range of hills (Abyssinia) 
traversing en route the marshy region between the Baro and Gelo ; from the latter river it probably receives a consider- 
able overflow. Its mouth is supposed to be about 8 miles south of the Pibor-Sobat junction, but owing to swamp 
it has not been accurately determined. It is said to be an important river in flood time. 

The Khor Filus enters the Sobat on the left bank about 10 miles from its junction with the White Nile, the following 
description of this khor, the adjoining country and its inhabitants, is taken from a report by Captain H. H. Wilson, 
Inspector, Upper Nile Province : — 

" Starting on April 15, 1902, the expedition marched from the village of Gokjak (some 20 miles from the 

mouth of the Sobat), and met the Khor Filus at Shol Ajik, some 8 miles inland, thus saving an unnecessary long march 
along the khor from its mouth, which is 10 miles from the Sobat mouth. The country here is flat and uninteresting, 
nothing but a vast grass plain, with hardly a tree to be seen. At Shol Ajik trees were met with, the banks of the khor 
being thinly wooded with a small growth of red 'talh,' with a sprinkling of the unwelcome 'kittr' thorn bush. The khor 
at this point is some 50 to 80 yards in width, mostly, however, filled up with weeds, the real water channel being clearly 
marked (though practically dry) by a deep narrow bed, some 15 feet lower than the adjacent banks. On to the village 
of M'Yolga the same country extends — grass, with a few trees ; in one place there were traces of elephants which had 
been there in the rainy season. Other game seen was the bastard tiang hartebeeste, which was really all the game 
seen in any quantity in the country. M'Yolga is a long scattered village on the right bank of the khor, and marks the 
limit of the Dinka tribe inland. From here onwards for many miles is uninhabited country, from Bia to Nerol being 
thickly wooded, in places densely, but only occasionally with any undergrowth that makes travelling difficult. Tiang 
hartebeeste were seen in considerable numbers along the whole route, and also quantities of waterfowl, pelicans, duck, 
geese, teal, and many and various kinds of crane and heron. In the vicinity of Fanyanglwel, 46 miles south of Sobat, 
the first signs of Nuer habitation were met with in the shape of their cattle " feriks,' which are the summer residences 
{i.e., dry season, from January to May), built close to water, and constructed lightly of grass only. No regular 
huts or tukls were met with until reaching Riul, 7 miles further south, where the banks became low and flat, and trees 
only at some distance on either side. The khor is here in the rains evidently broad and shallow, and, owing to mud, 
probably an impassable obstacle under such conditions. 

"■ A noticeable feature in the Nuer tukls is the superiority of their construction compared with the tukls of the 
)inkas, Anuaks, and other tribes of the Sobat, their cattle tukls being in many cases marvels of constructive art, giver 

• Tliis country was traveled from Marcli to June, 1904, by Mr. McMillan and his expedition. Out of 150 i.niles and the .same 
her of donkeys only 16 animals survived. Anuak carriers were, however, readily obtainable, from 150 (o 380 being constantly 
' oyed. 

Width and 


nature of 


Khor Filus. 


Niiers on Klwr Fihis. 

only boughs of trees, grass, and native tools for tlieir building. The regular solidly-built villages are placed at var-ying 
distances from the khor, probably dependent on high ground and on the nature of the soil, if suitable for the dura 
crops or otherwise, which are always grown in the vicinity of the rainy season tukls. Another noticeable feature, 
differing from the Shilluk and Dinka customs, was that the villages are not compactly built. The Shilluks and Dinkas 
generally build their tukls in close proximity, each village being a thick cluster of huts, the dura being sown anywhere 
close by. In the Nuer case, the tukls are built in twos and threes, at great intervals, probably each family being separate ; 
the land around each homestead being sown and tilled by the dwellers therein. In the case of many Nuer villages, 
owing to the village being built in the woods, and the groups of tukls at intervals of 200 to 600 yards, it was impossible 
to estimate the size of the village without covering many square miles of country. Around the various large pools 
of water near Meinom, Fading, and Shit, were thick fringes of ' Ambach ' ; these pools, being the chief source of supply 
for men and cattle in the dry season, it- is only natural to have found the water so churned up and fouled by the cattle 
as to be nearly undrinkable. In places near these pools, where the adjacent soil was sandy, wells had been dug to 
obtain a cleaner supply of water. From Shit the khor continues in a southerly direction, being broad and shallow, and 
it is said, runs on to Bor. The expedition left the khor at Shit, and, relying on native assurances that water would 
be found in wells, pushed inland to the east, and marched through the main Nuer villages, which were in places very 
thickly dotted about, and well built. The country from Shit to the limit of the march was well wooded, chiefly with 
the heglig tree. The ground rose slightly, and as one got inland it became sandy and covered with fine grass, standing 
2 to 4 feet high. The country also, here, struck one as being presumably fairly healthy in the rainy season, there 
being a complete absence of any rank vegetation. The dura crops in April were just appearing, the young shoots being 
about 6 inches high, and a very considerable extent of ground around each village was under cultivation. 

" At Amwot-el-Sogheir, another fairly large khor was crossed ; it was, however, quite dry, and the expedition 
camped on the further side, alongside some wells, which it was learned were the only ones to be found in this part of 
the district. These wells were worth noticing : dug on the sandy banks of the khor, their depth varied from 20 to 
30 feet, with a diameter of about 2 feet 6 inches. Owing to the solidity of the ground, the walls of the well stood without 
need of revetting, and great labour must have been expended in their construction. Steps were cut in the wells on 
opposite sides, to enable a man to descend and ascend. In one of the wells a calf was seen, standing in the water 
at the bottom, having evidently fallen in. It was rescued by one of the Dinka guides, who descended the well without 
difficulty, and brought up the animal unhurt. 

Denkur. " From the camp an expedition was made on the 22nd to the Nuer villages in this vicinity, which were stated to 

be the headquarters of the chief sheikh of the Nuers of the whole country under notice, by name of Denkur. Marching 
through a fairly thick forest of ' Abu Homera ' trees for an hour, and afterwards over an open grass plain for another 
hour-and-a-half, brought us up to the village, Keik. Standing in the centre of the village, and seen for about 3 miles 
off, was a conical mound of earth, well and solidly constructed by Denkur's people as a token that Denkur was 
a very big man in that part of the world. It was stated that the bones of innumerable oxen were buried in the body 
of the mound ; the cattle being slaughtered for the occasion. This act was to give greater value to the cone in the 
eyes of the surrounding tribes, as cattle are the most valued possessions of the tribes of the White Nile, and are practi- 
cally all they live for ; in fact, what religion they possess is centred in the cow. The height of this conical mound 
was about 50 to 60 feet, many large elephant tusks being firmly planted round the base and on the summit. The 
largest tusk measured 7 feet 10 inches, but of poor quality, as long exposure to rain and sun had ruined the ivory. 

" Having thus traversed as much of this country as was possible on account of water, the party returned to the 
Sobat by the same route, and arrived on the river bank on May 2. Owing to the extreme shyness of the Nuers, it 
was difficult to collect much information of their customs. Like all tribes of the Sobat, they are stark naked, and 
owing to their living in their own country, unmolested and out of all possibility of being in touch with civilization, 
it is only natural that they are sunk in barbarism and retain to the full all the inherited customs of their savage ancestors. 
Their hair is left to grow to a length of about 10 inches, and is stained red with the ammonia contained in the dung 
and water of their cattle. Their bodies (of the men) are covered with the white ash of burnt cow-dung, like the Dinka 
tribe. This results from the men always sleeping in separate tukls, the floor of which is several inches deep with this 
white ash, resulting from the perpetually burning or smouldering fire of cow-dung inside the tukl ; the men actually 
make their bed in the ashes. The women do not thus cover themselves, but sleep on mats made of dressed cow-hide, 
and keep their own skins oiled and clean. The young unmarried girls, like the men, wear no covering, but the married 

Weapons. women wear a loin cloth of whatever material is available, a leopard, gazelle, or sheep skin. The arms of the 
men consbt entirely of spears (throwing) and shields, with the universal knob-kerry ; bows and arrows are possessed 
by a very few — rifles they have none. It was reported that one of the big sheikhs possessed himself of a few at one 
time, but broke them up and made bracelets for his ladies. As I have mentioned above, the main wealth of the Nuers 
lies in their cattle and flocks of sheep. As the importance or otherwise of a man is gauged entirely by the number 
of his cattle, it follows that the quickest way to become powerful is for an individual or a village to appropriate the 

T)re88, hair, 

Country South of the Sobat. 


cattle of another individual or a village, or better still, of another tribe, and thus little raids of this kind are not 

" At Nerol another khor joins Khor Filus, by name Khor Nerol, or Chirol, which is said to connect with the village 
of Nyandeng, on the Sobat. Owing to lack of water, it was found impracticable to explore any distance up this khor." 

Section 2. — The Country South of the Sobat and North of N. Lat. 5° between Bahr El Jebel 

AND Abyssinian Frontier. 

(a) General Description. 

The country included in the above limits comprises an area 300 miles by 200, which, except along its eastern, 
northern, and western margins, still remains practically virgin soil untrodden by a white man. 

Our only direct information regarding the interior of this region is furnished by the Faivre Expedition (1898) 
which followed the course of the Pibor for about 60 miles above the Akobo junction, by the expedition (1902) 


led by Major A. Blewitt, which marched nearly due south up the banks of the Khor Filus for about 70 miles, and by 
Lieutenant Comyn* who explored the so-called Pibor for 170 miles beyond the Akobo junction in September, 1904. 

Except perhaps in the extreme south the whole of this area seems to be a flat alluvial grassy plain, during the 
rains, marshy and liable to be inundated by the various canal-like watercourses traversing it generally from south to 
north, but during the dry season probably arid and waterless for considerable stretches. In the south the forest is 
])erhaps finer and more generally distributed than further north, where thin belts of the ubiquitous heghg, kittr, and 
talh occasionally vary the monotony of this vast grass-covered plain 

Though a flat and somewhat unattractive country to the explorer, there is more than one interesting problem 
awaiting solution, chief of which is the Pibor question.* 

The course of the mysterious Oquelokur which drains the northern slopes of the Latuka hills and the Kos, its 
supposed affluent after entering the Sudan, also awaits investigation. When Captain Borton visited the Beri at 
J. Lafol at the foot of which, according to existing maps, the Kos should flow, he could see or hear nothing of this 
stream. At Bor, too, nothing has been seen or heard of any large khor for at least 15 miles inland, though the 

* For precis of Lieut. Comyn's report on his exploration of this river south of the Akobo junction, vide p. 151. 

U 2 


Bahr El Zeraf. 

natives there say the Beir tribe live on a large khor three or four days to the east. It seems therefore probable 
that the so-called Oquelokur flows further east than is shown on maps, and that it and possibly the Kos drain 
into the Pibor and thence into the Sobat. 

With regard to the source of the Khor Filus, the only information that has been obtained emanates from 
natives living near its mouth, who vaguely say it "comes from Bor," the reputed starting point of the other large 
khors Nifar, Diar, and Gaweir (perhaps different names for the same khor), which are said to flow northwards 
between the Filus and Bahr El Zeraf. Mr. E. Grogan certainly crossed several wide lagoons or spills just north of 
Bor, so possibly what the natives say regarding the origin of these khors is correct. For description of the Khor 
Filus, mde p. 139. 

As regards the inhabitants of the interior, all we know is that the Nuers live on the Khor Filus as far south as 
8° north latitude, that the Beri or Beir tribe live some 50 to 80 miles east of the Nile between Bor and Uganda, 
and (hat the Agibba tribe live on the so-called Upper Pibor, apparently only some 60 miles east of Bor. 



(b) Bahr El Zeraf* 

General Bahr El Zeraf is the name given to the eastern branch of the Bahr El Jebel, which leaves that river somewhere 

in the neighbourhood of Shambe, and flows mto the Bahr El Abiad or White Nile near Tonga, about 100 miles up-stream 
of Kodok. It has not been navigated in recent years above a point about 180 miles from its junction with the White 
Nile. Here it opens out into several channels and lagoons, which are for the most part blocked with sudd, and it is 
difficult to determine which is the main channel. According to native report a through channel to the Bahr El Jebel, 
navigable for steamers at high Nile, does exist. Whether such is the case has not yet been ascertained. 

The general direction of the river is from S.S.W. to N.N.E. The current is much stronger at the head waters of 
the river than in its lower reaches, except where it flows into the White Nile, which it does through a narrow channel. 

The river averages about CO yards in width, and nowhere does navigation present any difficulty until nearing 
the sudd region. Its depth is generally 5 to 10 feet or more, even at low Nile. 

The rise and fall of the Bahr El Zeraf is considerable. In May the banks, which are then hard and steep, are 
from 5 to 10 feet above the level of the river, which at high Nile, in spite of the opening of the Bahr El Jebel channel, 
appears still to overflow its banks almost everywhere. This has, no doubt, killed the trees close to the old channel, 
masses of dead stumps being a feature of the river. 

The country inland in May is dry and level, affording good going, but the only path near the river and parallel 
to it passable at all seasons of the year is said to be on the left bank. This runs from opposite Tonga on the White 
Roads. W'Ae. up the left bank and crosses to the right bank near Ajiung thence up the right bank to the neighbourhood of 

Bor. During the dry season water along this route is said to be scarce. The right bank is said to be impassable owing 
to swamps and elephants. Mr. Grogan, however, followed the right bank from Ajiung to the White Nile, and in 
April, 1904, Captain J. S. Liddell marched without difficulty with camels from Khor Attar to Twi, leaving the Zeraf 
about 20 to 30 miles to the west. Much of the country traversed, but at this season dry, had been flooded to a depth 
of 18 inches by the overflow of a large khor to the east named Gaweir. The road followed is chiefly used by the 
Dinkas in the rains, as in the dry season water, which is stored in fulas, is scarce. 

The banks of the Zeraf are almost invariably fringed with Um Suf, a few yards wide. 

Most of the sudd in the lakes at the head of the river appears to be growing, though on the edges it is floating 
and liable to become detached at any time ; this is specially noticeable on the western lake or head of the river. The 
Sodd. water is strongly discoloured after the 100th mile, and gets more so as the end of the navigable water is reached. Hip- 

popotami, though scarce on the lower reaches, are very numerous on the higher ones, and in the many lagoons 
through which the channel flow."^. 

The sudd is of three kinds : — 

(1) Sudd growing up from bottom and immovable. 

(2) Small low floating sudd in large patches, but loosely hanging together, and easily broken up or pushed away. 

(3) Patches of high sudd floating and connected by very fibrous roots, and very difficult to separate or clear ; very 
liable to entangle in the stern wheel of steamer. 

The first and second can be steamed through with difficulty. The latter has to be cut to pieces by hand and 

Between 30th and 148th miles there is no place where wood can be cut, except by cutting it in water (October, 
1898). Beyond that, there is no wood at all. 
Woo<L The inhabitants of the island formed by the Zeraf, Jebel, and White Nile are Nuers, who also occupy the right 

bank of the Zeraf from its mouth to about opposite Shambe. The right bank appears to have been originally 

* Vide also p. 18, and the itinerary of this river in Vol. II. 

iVwer Districts. 



inhabited by Dinkas, of whom a few are still to be found living among the Nuers, whilst the hinterland of the right Inhabitants, 
bank of the Zeraf is still occupied by them. They, however, live in dread of the Nuers, and many of them have left 
their villages and have sought safety on the river Sobat. 

The Nuers are very shy, but having got over their first timidity on meeting strangers they are cheery and open- 
hearted, evincing none of that suspicion and churlishness which is such an ever-present characteristic of the Dinkas, 
even in the more northern districts, nor that inexpressible laziness, a trait of both Dinkas and Shilluks. 

The men, boys, and unmarried women are, of course, naked. The married women wear loin cloths of skin, and a 
few of the men leopard skins. They all affect the long red-dyed hair, the universal custom of the Nuer tribes. 

The following is a detailed description of the various Nuer districts on both banks of the Bahr El Zeraf as far as 
is at present known (taken from a report by Captain H. H. Wilson, 1903) : — 

The first district on entering the Zeraf is Lak, of which the head Sheikh is Fador Wad Koing (1903). His 
country is of great extent, and split up into various sub-districts. This district extends between the Zeraf, Bahr El 
Jebel, and White Nile, near Tonga, the majority of the villages and people being nearer the Bahr El Jebel than the T^k. 
Zeraf. Only a very small proportion of them winter on the latter river, the majority do so on the White Nile, up-stream 
of the mouth of the Zeraf. The chief village of Lak, and in which Fador himself resides, is called Fulwal, and is close 
to the Bahr El Jebel. 

The only sub-district of Lak which is on or near the Zeraf, is Warao, of which the Sheikh is one Warao Wad Koing. 
This sub-district is entirely on the right bank of the Zeraf, at about 50 miles from its mouth, the winter hunting village 
being situated about 1 mile inland, on the right bank of a big khor known as Bahn, which runs into the Zeraf at 
this point. The inland village where the people reside during the rains and grow their crops, is about two hours' 
march inland, and is called Fulfam ; the sheikh himself resides in this village. 

The district of Thiang is also a large one, being situated on both the right and left banks of the Zeraf, at or about 
80 miles from the mouth. The head Sheikh is Toi Wad Thief*, who has two big villages, both on the left bank, called 
respectively, Fakoi and Fai-at. The people living on the right bank spread themselves between the Zeraf and Jebel Thiang. 
rivers, and in the winter descend to the banks of either or both of these rivers to graze their cattle. The people on 
the right bank have their " rain " village at a place called Khandak, about three hours inland on the right bank at 
80 miles. The Sheikh of this section is called Deng. These people are great hunters of the elephant. 

The villages of this district are seen from the river at about 120 miles, standing about 1 to 2 miles back, with Gaweir. 
a thick belt of trees behind them; just north of these trees are seen several clumps of deleib palms, and a few solitary 
dom palms. This district is on the left bank entirely, as far as could be ascertained. The Sheikh of the district is 
one Nyal Wad Jek*, a young man well disposed to the Government, and who has only recently succeeded his father as 
sheikh. He is very well supported by his uncle, Niar Wad Koing, an elderly man. These people remain in the same 
place all the year round; the ground being sufficiently high to admit of their building their rain villages in proximity 
to the river. This was the furthest point visited by Captain Wilson (1903). The information regarding the remaining 
district is from hearsay. 

This is the district ruled over by Sheikh Diu, who, being an influential man in these parts, is known by this Faslieikh. 
name only. He rules his own district only, and has nothing to do with the other Nuer districts above mentioned, 
each of which is independent, under its own sheikh. This district lies in the upper region of the Zeraf on the east 
bank, and the name Fasheikh applies to the inland district, where Diu and his people reside in the rains, as opposed 
to the village of Ajiung, which is the winter village. 

The history of Diu's occupation of this district is interesting, and was supplied by several men, who may be quoted 
as local authorities. In the days of the old Government it was a large Dinka district, the chief sheikhs of which were 
two men well known to the present Government, i.e., Aiung Yor and Agweir Owae, who are, at the present time, settled 
on the left bank of the Sobat, at M' Yolga, vide p. 139. At that time, Diu was somewhere on the Bahr El Jebel, and the 
Nuer sheikh on the Zeraf was one Bil Wad Teng, who lived at the spot that is pointed out as the zeriba of Kuchuk Ali, 
the Khartoum trader. The two lived together, the trader probably working the country under the guidance of the 
sheikh. On the retirement of the Government from these parts and the disappearance of Kuchuk Ali, Diu came 
down and seized the Dinka country to the south of this spot, turning out the Dinkas under the above-mentioned 
sheikhs, and establishing himself as the paramount power in the district. He is stated to consider himself a " fakir " in 
the same way as Denkur ; but that he is not hostile to the Government is clear from the fact that he sent his represen- 
tatives to Kodok last year. 

Fasheikh is stated to be about three hours' march inland from Ajiung, but inaccessible owing to the intervening 
swampy ground. 

* Visited Khartoum, 1904. 


Bor and Sonth. 


River Awai. 



(c) E. Awai or Atcm. 

River Atem. A.n important branch of the Bahr El Jebel appears to leave the main stream through the swamp and sudd to the 

north of Bor, and to flow north-west parallel to it and at a distance of perhaps 5 or miles to the east. For about 
30 miles below Bor, this branch, known by the Dinkas of Pabek as the river Atem, and by those at Tau as the 
Awai — the "Gertrude Nile" of Grogan— is said to be blocked by sudd. Tlie Dinkas, however, say that 
Arabi Dafaalla sent a steamer down it from Bor to the junction of the Mading. In May, li)04, Sir William Garstin, 
G.C.M.G., and Captain J. S. Liddell explored this river by steamer as far up-stream as the village of Tau within 
40 miles of Bor. At Tau the natives said it was blocked by sudd 10 miles further south. Up to this point the river 
was never less than 4 feet deep, though its breadth varied considerably, and to enable a steamer with barges to pass 
through it would require a certain amount of clearing. 

About 55 miles below Bor the Atem or Awai bifurcates. One branch known as the R. Mading, flowing north, is 
at first a fine river 80 yards wide and 5 or 6 feet deep but quickly narrows and looses its water in the marshes, and 
after 7 miles ^ecomes an insignificant stream. It is said to be completely blocked by sudd a little lower down. 

The main branch known only as the Awai bends westwards and flows as an easily navigable stream, though 
difficult for a steamer with two barges, through the usual reedy swamp to the lakes a little north of Shambe. 
Between the Mading and Shambe the Awai has two main outlets into the Bahr El Jebel. One from Fajak, navigable 
only for dugouts, spills into the main river near Abu Kuka, but the principal channel, only a few hundred yards long 
connecting with the Jebel, is about 8 miles up-stream of Shambe. This is easily navigable by steamers. 

The banks of the Awai and Mading are generally swamp, papyrus or grass, but from the former, about 7 miles 
from the Mading junction, ant hills on more or less dry ground are visible. On the eastern bank of the Atem forest 
approaches the river and for 10 miles north of Tau the right bank is high ai:d fiim, though liable to be flooded. The 
western bank is everywhere swampy. 

The Nuers do not appear to extend south of the latitude of Shambe. Here the banks of the rivers are thinly 
populated by Dinkas. From a few miles north of the Mading junction to Tau is the Dinka district of Twi — it was 
with the people of this district that Mr. Grogan had some trouble in 1900. Sheikh Gurung of Pabek in the north of 
Twi seems, however, very friendly. South of Tau, Bor district commences, the Dinkas of which are said to be not 
on friendly terms with Twi. 

(d) Bor and Suuth* 

Bor. There are three sites on the right bank of the Bahr El Jebel known as Bor — the most northern is the site of 

the Old Government Mudiria, 4 miles further south is Arabi Dafaalla's deim, and about the same distance still 
further south is the site of the present Military Post and the proposed site of the Headquarters of the new admini- 
strative district of Bor, vide pp. 76, 77. 

The bank at all three places is high and firm, but ths most roomy landing place is at the most southern 
site. Wood is everywhere plentiful, as the forest comes down to the water's edge. 

Iiiltabitanu. The inhabitants in the neighourhood of Bor are Dinkas who live mostly 10 to 15 miles inland. The principal 

sheikh (Being-Dit) is named Bor, whose village is about 10 miles east of the Dervish deim. Sheikh Kur Uving 
about 7 miles north-north-east of Bor is also an important man. 

Being Dit. The office of head sheikh (Being Dit) is said to have been from time immemorial in the family of sheikh Bor. 

It is customary for the Being Dit to nominate his successor from among his near relatives, his selection depending on 
their individual ability. In the present case, though the eldest son of the Being Dit usually succeeds, sheikh Bor 
has disregarded the claim of his own two sons, and has nominated Majam, son of his deceased brother, Matj. 

If the Being Dit dies suddenly without nominating his successor, an assembly is held to appoint one, a curious 
fact being that the women, especially the wives of the late Being Dit, have a good deal to say in the selection. 

Judtice. Owing perhaps to the weakness of the central authority, sheikh Bor, there seem to be practically no penalties 

for offences. The fine of one cow appears to be considered sufficient for any crime from murder downwards. Capital 
punishment is never awarded. In the case of theft, the misdemeanant, if traced, is merely ordered to restore the 
stolen property. This he sometimes does and sometimes does not. 

Villageu. The houses of the villages are much scattered, which renders the occupants very defenceless in case of raids by 

the dreaded Beir or Beri tribe under sheikh Lom, who lives several days further inland in a south-easterly or easterly 

The tuklfl are well and neatly built, the walls being made of mud or dura stalks covered with daub. The doorway 
usually leads into a sort of hall or porch about 3 to 4 feet high ; this again has an inner door. This is said to be for 
protection against hyenas. 

♦ Most of this information wa« suppl ied by Mr. R. Turstig. 

Dinkas of lior. 145 

The usual buildings of a family consist of one tukl (Ud) per wife, one extra large tukl (Luak as cow stable, and 
the " Gu " or granary, a kind of miniature tukl raised off the ground on wooden legs. 

In the rains water is stored in fulas, as the water in these gets low, a series of circular holes, 2 or 3 feet deeper water 
than the fula, are dug round its circumference, and the remainder of the water is drained into them. These holes sujjply. 
are then thatched with dura stalks, and water is economised by thus diminishing the loss by evaporation, as well as 
by draining the wet mud at the bottom of the fula. 

When these holes run dry water has to be carried by the women often 10 miles or more from the river. 

From Bor a dry road, though not yet explored, undoubtedly leads north to Twi or Twich. A good path with Communica- 
rest-houses at frequent intervals leads south up the right bank to Mongalla and Gondokoro. *><>»»• 

Communication with the Aliab, a tribe rich in cattle and grain, living on the west bank opposite to and south of 
Bor, is maintained by dugouts to Uternau, thence by road to Sheikh Anok, Mek of the Aliab, who lives about 25 miles 
west of Bor Military Post. 

A good deal of dura is grown by sheikhs Bor and Kur. It is of the white variety and of excellent quality. Cultivation. 
The Dinkas are great smokers, and cultivate sufficient tobacco for their requirements. 

Large numbers of cattle (Wong) and a good many sheep (Amal) and goats (Biu) are owned by these Dinkas. Cattle and 
The grazing stables or cattle zeribas are called " Mura." The price (Tick) of a wife used to be five cows or forty sheep, 
goats. Cattle being now scarce, owing to Arabi Dafaalla's prolonged residence at Bor, the price of a wife has been 
reduced to one cow. 

Bows (Danga) and arrows (Juet) are in general use, and are looked upon as the principal weapon for fighting, as Arms, 
their lances are indifferently manufactured. 

Some of the wood from which the bows are made is said to come from Dar Fertit ; the arrows are made of cane 
with iron or hard-wood points, and are poisoned by soaking them in the milky juice (Byol) of the Euphorbia 
candelabrum, which grows hereabouts. 

The Dinkas are very inexpert smiths, and so generally have their lances made by the Jurs and Aliab of the west 
bank in exchange for sheep or goats. 

In addition to their bows and spears they usually carry an ebony club. 

Iron bracelets (Lung Kok) are made locally. These are about the only things a Dinka smith can make. A Ornaments. 
Dinka receives his bracelets on coming of age and is then not allowed to part with them. 

Ivory bracelets (Gong) are only occasionally seen, as these people are not great hunters, though elephants are 
very numerous in their country. 

The Jenotor* (Guainakwach) are the favourite beads, but they are very particular as to the kind. The most 
popular are black with red and white spots. Forty of these beads make a necklace and will purchase a sheep or 
goat ; five is the price of a hen and three will buy five eggs. 

Brass wire is not nearly so much appreciated as iron or the right sort of beads. It is hammered into bracelets 
by the smiths, but they prefer to buy these ready made. 

Goat skin bracelets are also worn by the men as well as by the women who wear, in addition, brass bracelets round 
the wrists and ankles, and strings of small blue or white beads round the waist. The men as a rule are naked, whilst 
the women wear the usual skin apron in front and occasionally behind. At present cotton cloth is considered a 
prohibitive luxury and is not of much use as barter, though acceptable as a present. 

The word of greeting is " Akingedo " and the reply to this is the same word repeated. Word of 

The dialect of these southern Dinkas varies considerably from that spoken in the northern districts. hmfru^e*" 

The Dinka is so abnormally lazy that he has no desire whatever to hire himself for work of any description, gj^^^j/^^^ 
Carriers are most difficult to obtain from them even when applied for through' the medium of their most influential 

At certain seasons they are busily occupied with their cultivation, but for the remainder of the year, with the 
xception of the few engaged in superintending the grazing of the cattle, they Uve in absolute idleness, varied only 
by an occasional and generally futile hunting or fishing expedition. 

The women on the other hand are very industrious. On them falls the heavy work of pounding the dura into 
flour and preparing food and other household duties, as well as carrying water which has often to be brought from a 
great distance. Salt is not eaten by the Dinkas, nor is it sought after Uke sugar, and they do not appear to have 
any substitute for it. The women usually drink milk flavoured with cow's urine, but the men as a rule drink it 

As is stated on p. 128, the Dinka beUeves in a Creator of the world and mankind known as Deng-Dit. It was Ileligion. 
only after man had learnt to sacrifice cattle and sheep to Deng-Dit that woman became fniitful and man was able to 

Knrnr.cigate his species. 
The Dinkas have regular priests (Tieit) who are not, however, professional men, but live and work like the 
♦ Or " Gianotta ; '' vide p. 120, footnote. 




The Ban, Tribe. 




ordinary individual. These priests are believed to have supernatural powers of conversing with those who are di«d 
and have become the children of Deng-Dit. 

This communion with the dead is held on the occasion of a ceremony to commemorate the deceased or sometimes 
in cases of serious illness. 

Mr. R. Tiirstig gives the following interesting description of these ceremonies : — 

" It was the memorial day for a deceased wife of sheikh Bor. At about 7 a.m. he and some of his people went 
to the tukl, which had belonged to her, and sat down in front of the doorway ; on the other side near the ' Gu ' cr 
granary sat the deceased wife's * locum tenens ' as well as other wives. In the open space between them the Tieit 
or priest sat on his cow-hide mat. Close by was a tree from which the branches had been shorn, and to which a 
large number of cow-horns had been affixed — said by sheikh Bor to be a very old erection — and to the bottom of the 
tree a live goat was fastened. 

"Sheikh Bor and his people then commenced to question the priest on many points with regard to which they 
desired the opinion of the deceased wife ; the priest meanwhile sat with legs crossed supporting his head with one 
hand, whilst with the other he continued to rattle a bottle-shaped-gourd half- full of lubia beans. After much shaking 
and rattling he proceeded, having first directly addressed the deceased and having made a suitable pause to enable 
her to reply, to give a detailed answer on each question in a deep guttural tone, his eyes meanwhile being rigidly 
fixed on the ground, his voice (similar to a ventriloquist) sounding as though it were not his own. 

" Though I was unable to understand much that was being said, one, at least, of the questions and answers 
referred to the approaching visit of the Mudir. 

" Having obtained all the information required, sheikh Bor rose, the priest remaining seated, seized the sheep, 
threw it down, and then slowly and solemnly cut the throat of the animal with a lance, remaining himself the while 
in an upright position. The blood having spurted out, the ceremony was over, and the old sheikh said ' Now let us 
go to your house.' 

" On another occasion a somewhat similar ceremony took place in connection with a sick man. The same priest 
officiated, but there were more people, and it lasted from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. A good deal of dancing was performed 
by women who were decked in fantastic fashion with ostrich feathers, etc. One woman carried a gourd full of 
liquid butter, with which she anointed in most liberal fashion the necks of those present as well as the entire body of 
the bull which was subsequently sacrificed. The priest invariably receives the ribs of the animal as his portion, but 
in this case no one partook of any of the flesh until 5 a.m. the following morning. On the whole, the Dinkas did not 
strike me as a particularly superstitious race." 

Vide also Chap. VII, p. 162, and compare with Shilluk religion. Chap. VIII. 

On the right bank, 20 miles south of Bor, the Baris begin and extend to Gondokoro and south. The Sudan 
Baris appear to be a poor race both materially and mentally. At present they are neither willing to work to increase 
their cultivation, nor to act as porters. In the days of Baker they were a warlike race, rich in cattle — this spirit 
and property seem to have vanished under Dervish rule. They appear physically stronger and better built than the 
Dinkas. Like them they do not appear to inhabit the country more than 20 miles inland. Their inland villages 
have no wells, but each house has usually five pits dug round it for collecting rainwater. The Baris cultivate dura, 
simsim, telabun and tobacco. During the last few years their crops have suffered much from drought and floods 

Beads are of little use as trade goods. Brass wire, hoes, iron, and tarbushes, as well as native cotton-cloth 
(damur) are all acceptable. 

The men as a rule carry a long narrow-bladed spear, and go about stark naked. The women wear a leather 
fringe roimd the loins, with a tanned skin hanging down behind. The unmarried girls are content with the fringe 

The women carry their babies on their backs, in skin bags, which can be detached and hung on a cross stick to 
form a cradle. 

The principal Sheikhs of the Bari living on the right bank and working south are Kula, Wungo, Lefo Abu Kuka, 
Legi Lefo, Lado, and Lowala, and on the left bank Mudi, Wani, and Lado Kanga. They have apparently no tribal 
organization, and the Sheikhs have very little authority. 

Mongalla is the southernmost post of the Sudan Government on the White Nile. It was moved here from Kiro, 
on the left bank, in April, 1901. It is the residence of a British Inspector and Police Officer; there is also a 
detachment of two companies under a British officer furnished from the Sudanese battalion at Taufikia. There are 
here Government offices, barracks, hospital, and residences of officials built of brick. A gunboat is always stationed 
here. Mongalla is on the right bank, 23 miles north of Gondokoro, and 13 and 12 miles from the Belgian stations, 
Lado and Kiro respectively. 

The rainy season in this district is spread over the period from the end of February to November, but during 

The Beri Tribe. 147 

this season rain is by no means constant. At first there are intervals of a week or even a fortnight between the 
rainstorms, but after the middle of June, when the heavy rains commence, there is, as a rule, one storm during every 
24 hours. 

The temperature in these regions is comparatively cool, and the thermometer very seldom rises to 100° Fahr. Tempera- 


The natives appear healthy, and there seems no reason why, with ordinary precautions, white races should not Health, 
enjoy equally good health, though the more southern portions, at any rate, of this district are certainly within the 
" Blackwater " fever zone. 

(e) The Beri Tribe. 

The following information is taken from a report by Captain N. T. Borton, who visited these people in Description 
April, 1904. 

The Beri tribe appear to be a mixture of the Bari and Latuka. They live on a hill about 2,000 feet high called 
Jebel Lafol which is composed of granite with several fair sized trees growing on it. It lies about 50 miles south-east 
by east from Mongalla. 

The hill is artificially terraced with granite slabs throughout and on these terraces, practically right up to the top Houses, 
of the hill, are built the tukls of the people, exactly similar to Bari Tukls except that the sides are made of strips of 
wood instaad of reeds. The fighting men live round the foot of the hill and the older people higher up. 

There is no water on the hill itself — all has to be carried from rain pools of which there are at this time of year Water, 
about a dozen round and fairly close to the hill. 

All cattle were driven of? during our visit and were only beginning to return when I left — there did not appear Cattle, 
to be many really large cattle zeribas, though these too may have been removed at our approach which had been 
watched for by day and night for the last three days. 

Alikori* is the chief of the tribe and holds absolute sway. He is an oldish man of about 6.5 years of age, chief, 
about 5 feet 8 inches in height, and like nearly all his tribe, wears a feather quill piercing his lower lip to allow the 
saliva to run ofi, when smoking, with a minimum of trouble to the smoker. 

The rule of succession is that brothers succeed each other according to seniority ; after the youngest brother's Succession, 
death, the succession passes to the eldest son of the eldest brother and so on through the family. 

Alikori succeeded his father Aseri who had no brothers, the present heir apparent is named Waller Mari. 

All Beris stated they have no connection whatever with the Beir tribe opposite Borf and say they have no other Beris. 
district but Jebel Lafol. From the top of it one can see 50 miles or more in the Bor direction ; there did not 
seem to be any roads and no hills were visible. All tribes in thi^se parts live on hills. 

Ths cultivation on the vast plain lying round the hill consists of dura, tobacco, and a few ground nuts only. The Cultivation. 
dura WIS about a foot high and appeared to be well looked after and the ground cleaned. 

The only trade is the purchase of dura for sheep, carried on principally with the Lokova on Mount Illyria and a Trade, 
little with our Bari Sheikhs Lado, Lowala, etc. , on the Nile. 

The present fashionable enemy is the Latuka tribe belonging to Queen Topein — relations with other powers are Enemies, 
reported as satisfactory. 

The population probably amounts to about 3,000 men all told. Population. 

People seem very healthy, quite the opposite of the Baris ; no disgusting sights like one sees in their villages ; Health, 
malformed children are destroyed at birth. Sleeping sickness is unknown. 

All disciplinary powers are vested in the chief. For premeditated murder punishment is death. For killing in Legal, 
quarrel, etc., the ofEender must pay a boy to the family of the deceased. Thefts of cattle must be repaid or the 
offender js exiled. Thefts of food are not looked upon as offences but as occasional necessities. For adultery 
the co-respondent must pay 1 cow, 5 sheep and 5 iron malotes (hoes) ; the wife is dealt with by her husband in 
the seclusion of the home, but must not be killed. 

The birth of a child does not give an excuse for a festival of any sort. Customs. 

Marriages are arranged when the girls are very young. The bridegroom interviews his proposed father-in-law, as 
in other countries, and arranges to pay so many sheep a year until the lady reaches a marriageable age. The 
ceremony is then celebrated amid much merissa drinking. Divorce is allowed to husbands only ; if granted they receive 
back their marriage settlement. A widow marries her deceased husband's brother ; if she has no brother-in-law she 
may marry someone else, but she usually becomes the property of the head chief. 

Death is believed to be the end of all things. No after state is believed in. A sheep is always killed over a dead 

I man's grave. 
The language is peculiar to the tribe. Language. 

* There is another branch of this tribe living further north under a chief named Lom {vide p. 144). 


South of the Ahoho. 

Women wear a broad skin covering from 

Emin Pasha once passed with a concourse 

Clothiug. The men go naked or wear a short mantle of skin over the shoulders, 

the waist in front and behind. 

Arm*. The sams practically as the Baris. 

Visitora. Alikori states no white man has ever been to him before (April, 1994) 

of people going towards Bor but did not stop. 

Siege. Arabi Dafaalla besieged the hill for 13 days in 1897 ; he then drew off having suffered considerable loss. The 

natives ussd to rush the water holes every night at a different point and thus bring in enough to last for the next day. 

Supplies. Flour and sheep could only be obtained on payment by repeatedly demanding them and were then only forth- 

coming in very small quantities. It is probable that when the Ber' are again visited supplies of grain and meat will 
be more readily produced. 

Transport Mules, donkeys, and in the dry season camels could aD be advantageously employed for transport. 

Ga>"e- Giraffe, hartsbecst, tope and oribi practically comprised all the game sesn, but there were many fresh tracks of 

elephant and rhino. One herd of giraffe numbered over eighty animals. 

^^***'- The best route from Mongalla to J. Lafol is up the right bank of the branch of the Bahr El Jebel, south of 

Mongalla to Sheikh Lado's or Lowala's (9 miles, thence south-east up the Felluru river via Nierchuk to junction 
(18 miles) of track from Ali Bey and Gondokoro, water in dry season all along this river. Thence general direction 
east, passing two pools, liable to be nearly dry in dry season, to Khor Wandida (15 miles), dry in April. Thence still 
east to Wailada lake, 12 miles, thence 11 miles north-east to J. Lafol, passing a marsh half-way where water should 
be always obtainable. Total distance about G.5 miles. Between the Felluru River and J. Lafol there is no track. 

(f) Country South of the Alcoho* 

Boma. South of the junction of the Ajibur and Akobo rivers, an undulating tract of country is traversed before the foot 

of the Boma hills is reached. The soil is generally of a gravelly nature, but the district is often most charmingly wooded, 
whilst striking cocked-hat shaped peaks to the west enclose the valley of the Ajibur and add variety to the scene. Until 
the Boma hills are entered the country ajipears to be quite uninhabited, for it was not until we reached the lower slopes 
that we observed natives for the first time gathering the fruit of the many palms that grow, as well as bamboo, here- 
abouts. The hilly district of Bomaf is then entered, and many streams, valleys, and ridges have to be crossed. The soil 
is seemingly very fertile and capable of producing all kinds of cereals. Proceeding as we did in a south-westerly direction 
through these hills, we, of course, only traversed quite a small corner, so to speak, of the country, but were much impressed 
by the possibilities of the place as the site of a future post along the frontier. The natives appeared quite friendly ; 
the scenery at times was really grand ; and plenty of food and water could doubtless be always procurable once the natives 
saw that they would be protected from outside raiding parties. The average altitude of this region is generally from 
3,000 to 4,000 feet above the sea level, but other ridges and heights attain an altitude of close on 6,000 feet. The natives 
were exceedingly shy, but eventually we persuaded them to approach us, though unfortunately we were unable to con- 
verse with them except by that most unsatisfactory of means — signs. Physically, the men — we saw no women at 
all at close quarters — are finely built and appear a higher type than the Nuers or Anuaks. Many of them wore ostrich 
feathers in their head-dress, and several had large circular knives — like those of the Turkana, but much broader — round 
their wrists. Beads were very generally worn, and many of the young bloods had broad bands of red beads, picked out 
with patches of blue and white ones, fastened across the forehead. Small skin aprons, not unlike those of the Turkana, 
were also worn by some of the men. Most of the men's spears were sheathed and not carried like those of the Nuers 
and Anuaks uncovered. The huts we saw were wretched little grass erections with no appearance of stability, and 
gave one the impression of being little more than mere rough shelters. We gathered from these natives that they 
had recently been raided by the Magois, whom they hate and fear, and had in con.sequence no goats or sheep 
left. We certainly did not see any, but at the same time the men looked so sturdy and well-filled that they probably 
liad plenty of grain food. Moreover, the wild fig grows fairly abundantly along the banks of some of the streams. The 
loftier heights of the country are well wooded, and though, j)erhaps, they were somewhat distant to judge accurately, 
I think probably these trees would provide excellent timber for building purposes. The climate appeared most bracing, 
and, judging by the few days experience we had, the rainfall must be very heavy. 

Grand solid rock peaks in places spring out from the ridges in a curious manner, and by their precipitous appearance 
would probably tax the resource of the most skilled Alpine climbers to reach their summits. We were able to learn 
i.othing regarding the customs or habits of these natives, and, in fact, from the time we left Anuak country until we 

* Extract from a renoit bv Major Austin, H.E., 1!)01. 

+ Boma waH visited oy Messrs. Bulijctt and Jes.sen in June, 1904. The inhabitants were found to be very frieniily, and a certain 
amount of j^rain was obtainable from thc-ni. Iron wire — not brass— was what they asked for in jiayment. Crops in Boina are 
harvested in June. The maximum temperature registered on the Boma-Musha plateau was 85° F. 

South of the Al-oho. 149 

reached the Uganda Protectorate had to carry out all conversation by signs. Judging by the great display of beads 
made, for trading purposes I have little doubt but that red, blue and white beads would be readily taken in exchange 
for food. The small bead known as " pound " beads would, I think, be far less popular than a slightly larger variety 
about the size of a pea. The beads should be opaque, and the ordinary glass beads procurable in Cairo, I fancy, would 
be little sought after. 

To the south of Boma and some short distance away from the foot of the hills, a pleasantly wooded tract of country Karuno. 
is traversed, consisting of alternate plains of open bush and grass land, whilst water is obtained from khors running 
in a westerly direction across this plain, before turning north. Further south, again, however, a most uninviting dried 
up plain, which, after rains, would probably be converted into heavy bog, is met with, and water now becomes a most- 
serious consideration as far as about lat. 5° 30' north, where a broad sandy-bedded khor winds its way acre si the plain 
in a westerly direction. Along this river bed we found the Karuno tribe settled in considerable numbers. Thej i.ppeared 
to be a somewhat powerful tribe, and were certainly the most elaborately bedecked and prosperous looking set of men 
we saw during our journey. They possessed large numbers of cattle, goats and sheep, and donkeys, and also grow grain 
along the banks of the Karuno. Like all the natives of these regions, they are extremely suspicious of strangers, and 
though not unfriendly, are by no means anxious, it seemed to us, to have anything to do with Europeans. I do not 
remember these people having ever before been mentioned by any traveller ; but on comparing my map with 
Mr. Donaldson Smith's we seemed most obviously to be at the place shown by him as inhabited by the Magois tribe. On 
enquiring of these natives where the Magois were, they pointed away across the plain to the west, and gave us to under- 
stand they had been driven away in that direction by the Turkana, who had come up in force from the south. Although 
we tried to induce the Karuno people to bring grain or goats and sheep into camp for sale, they would not do so, nor 
would they even provide us with guides. This is probably more due to the fear these natives entertain of travelling 
into their neighbour's country than from any unfriendly motives. Here, where raids and counter-raids are frequently 
being indulged in, considerable hostility naturally exists between the several tribes living next each other. The Karuno 
in some respects are not unlike the Turkana, except that their head-dress is not a long pendant bag-shaped one, but 
more like a squat chignon, which is stuck full of fine vari-coloured ostrich feathers. Beads are worn by them in great 
quantities, chiefly red, white, and a variegated one known in East Africa as " Punda malia " (zebra). Many of the 
young warriors in addition to numerous strings round the neck, had solid bands of beads — similar to those we saw in 
Boma — fastened across the forehead. The elders have most handsome head-dresses made of cowrie shells, whilst others 
again wore skuU caps made of small white and red beads worked into a neat design of many circles. Physically, the 
men are well set up and sturdy, though they do not run to height much and are probably little above the average stature. 

The women are not unlike the Turkana, and weave their hair into straight ringlets which fall round the head. They 
also wear beads in great numbers round the neck, whilst the lower part of the body is covered with a skin apron, cut 
away at the side with a flap in front and a long trailing tail arrangement behind. 

In addition to long handled spears, the men carry short stabbing spears, and oblong-shaped hide shields. 

Exactly what extent of country the Karuno occupy I can hardly say, but I should imagine they no not exist 
further east than the foot of the escarpment, where the country becomes thickly wooded with thorn bush. In a westerly 
direction they probably do not extend more than 2 or 3 miles beyond where we first struck the Karuno river bed, 
leaving an uninhabited area of country between themselves and the Magois. After leaving the Karuno, and striking 
at first in a south-easterly, and later in an easterly direction, we reached and travelled along the foot of a rocky escarpment 
through an irregular bay, as it were, in the hills. The valley, between our line of march and broken hills to the south, 
was thickly wooded with thorn bush, and water was difficult to find. We saw a few old grass huts of natives, which 
had been deserted for some months previously, but saw no signs of human life. It is probable that this tract of country 
can only be occupied during the rainy season of the year, owing to the extreme scarcity of water. 

After we had worked our way through these hills, finally crossing the eastern ridge by an easy pass, we found Muaha. 
ourselves in a broad plain, thickly covered with thorn bush. Some 30 miles east more hills seemed to bar progress 
in that direction, whilst to the south the thorny plain appeared to extend for some 40 miles to the foot of the high 
mountain masses to the west of Lake Rudolf. We were now in the tract of country called by Dr. Donaldson Smith, 
Musha. The thorn-bush plain terminated to the north at the foot of two lofty mountains, the more westerly one 
of which attains a height of close on 6,000 feet, whilst the loftier mass to the south-east of it (previously known to 
me as Mount Naita, and called by Dr. Donaldson Smith, Etua ; whilst in Bottego's map it is named Aguzzo) reaches Mount 
a height of about 7,300 feet. We passed numerous kraals whilst journeying in an easterly direction across this plain, Naita. 
which had all been temporarily abandoned by the natives, with whom we could get no intercourse, as they refused 
to approach us. On several occasions, when we saw two or three natives watching us from a distance, men were sent 
out to try and induce them to come into camp, but they fled before our men could get within even shouting distance 
of them. We were most anxious to obtain the service of guides, as the country before us was unknown, and the 
anxieties regarding water had become very great. It would appear, judging by the tracks we saw, that the Musha 

X 2 

150 South of the Akoio. 

possess much livestock, consisting of camels, cattle, donkeys, goats, and sheep. In the thick bush, however, these people 
had little difficulty in driving them away and concealing their animals until we had passed, when presumably they 
returned again to their kraals. On one occasion, however, our advent was unexpected, as near our camping ground 
some of our party surprised two or three Musha, who were tending a flock of over 200 goats and sheep, and perhaps 
a dozen donkeys. The natives fled, leaving everything behind in their little enclosures. Strict orders were issued 
that these ainmals were not to be touched, as we hoped by so doing we might induce the natives to understand that 


we were not a marauding expedition, and were desirous of opening friendly intercourse with them. The animals were 
left alone all that day and night, but the Musha evidently feared to return, and when we marched off next morning 
the donkeys gave us a parting bray, which was the nearest approach to friendly intercourse we experienced in this 
neighbourhood, as we never saw another Musha man during the rest of our journey. In due course we crossed another 
low range of hills to the south of that grand mountain, Naita, and entered another wooded valley, which ultimately 
joined that of the River Sacchi, where we arrived on the Ist April, and our difficulties regarding water for the present 

The Ujyper Pilar. 151 

were at an end. I would here remark that perhaps for nine months in the year, for a large party to cross this bit of 
country from Boma to the Sacchi, by the route followed by us, would be a most risky undertaking owing to the extreme 
scarcity of water. The many watercourses shown on the map were found to be almost without exception merely dry 
stony beds in which no water was procurable by digging. Fortunately, about the 20th March, rain had fallen to the east 
of where we then were, and by extraordinary good luck we subsequently found pools at intervals, after long continued 
search. One point worthy of note is that, in spite of previous rain, we seldom found water in the actual nullah beds, 
as, owing to their stony nature, the water runs off at once. What water was found was nearly always in depressions 
some distance away from the banks of these nullahs, where the clayey soil prevented percolation, and retained water 
in pools until it became evaporated in due course by the hot sun. 

On our previous visit to Lake Rudolf from the south, our old Suk guide, Nyanga by name, had on several occasions 
pointed out to me the striking Naita peak away to the north-west, and told me that the country thereabouts was the 
most dreadful one he knew for scarcity of water. I believed him, as he was about the most knowledgable and intelligent 
native of his class regarding the geography of the country that I have ever met. His information had now been verified 
by us, and it was with a sigh of relief we found the Sacchi a running stream. To the Swahilis the tract of country Sacchi 
we had traversed was always known as Donyiro, which name appears on the map prepared by the Macdonald expedition, river. 

From very imperfect data I am inclined to think that between our southerly route from Boma and the valley 
of the Sacchi the escarpment we skirted is the edge of a fine hilly plateau,* varying in height probably from 3,000 to 
5,000 feet above sea level. I imagine all that tract of country to be a fertile and probably well-watered region, very 
much like Boma itself. Whether it is thickly populated it is difficult to say, as the country is absolutely unknown 
to Europeans, but to traverse it from north to south and east to west with mule transport would probably be most 
interesting. It would probably be almost too difficult for any pack animals except mules and perhaps donkeys. The 
much talked of gold, which is discussed by our Swahilis as existing in those parts, might also be found, although 
I must admit we never saw any gold ornaments worn by natives in the plains bordering that country. 

In Sudan territory south of the Sobat the following species are known to exist : Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, Game, 
rhinoceros, zebra roan-antelope, waterbuck, Mrs. Grey's waterbuck {cobus maria), white-eared cob {cobus leucotis), 
Uganda cob, bushbuck, reedbuck, Jackson's hartebeeste, tiang, lion, leopard, etc. 

(g) The Ui)per Pibor. 

In August, 1904, the head waters of the so-called Pibor were explored by Lieutenant D. C. Comyn, Black General. 
Watch. It was found that 17 miles above the Akobo junction the river bifurcated, one branch known as the Agweif 
apparently coming from the E. and S.E., the other, known by the Anuaks as Nyanabek, by the Nuers as Kang, and 
by the Agibbas as Natila, from the S. and S.W. 

Following the latter branch, without encountering any serious sudd obstructions, Lieutenant Comyn succeeded, 
with the aid of a steam launch, in reaching a point which appeared to him to be very near the source of this 
important feeder of the Pibor. 

The flooded plain in which the river seemingly has its origin, is according to Lieutenant Comyn's sketch, about Source. 
60 miles due E. of Bor, and 170 miles by river above the Akobo junction. 

The banks of the Natila are as a rule ill-defined, swampy and sudd-fringed ; in places they appear to be as much Banks, 
as 200 to 2.50 yards apart. 

Almost throughout its course the banks were more or less inundated, the left bank being usually the higher, and 
in its upper reaches the plain was flooded to a depth of a foot or more for many miles round. 

The water-way varied from 20 to 70 yards in width, and about 20 miles above the Akobo junction, what Water-way. 
appeared to be a sudd-covered lake, some 800 yards broad and 6 miles in length, was traversed by a deep and 
tortuous channel 20 to 30 yards wide. 

The average depth for the first 130 miles was found to be about 20 feet, but in the next 40 miles the river Depth, 
gradually shoaled to about 15 inches, and the direction of its course was then only faintly distinguishable by the 
band of light-green grass which blocked its bed and precluded further progress. 

The current varied from | to 2 miles per hour, the rise and fall of the river apparently depending largely on the Current, 
local rainfall. In the dry season the plain, and, according to the Agibbas, the river itself dries up. 

Fuel is plentiful everywhere, the river being fringed with a belt of talh and heglig trees for the greater part of Fuel, 
its course. 

* MenMis. Kulpptt and .lessen reached a point about .30 n.iles N.N.E. of Mount Naita in June, 1904, and report that this plateau 
appeared very rocky and cut up by water courses, which contained water in pools in .June. The land seemed uninhabitable and 
unsuited to cultivation. 

+ For description, vide p. 136. 


The. Upper Pibor. 

J. Atin. 




J. Atin, standing on the left bank, about IJ miles from the river and about 100 miles from the Akobo junction, 
forms a conspicuous landmark. It is a solid rocky mass about 2 miles in circumference, and has twin peaks some 
400 feet above the plain. 

Gordon is said to have marched up the right bank in 1878 (1) and to have crossed to J. Atin, and to have 
marched thence westwards to the Nile through the Beir or Beri country. 

As is stated on p. 136 the inhabitants of the Lower Pibor are Nuers and a few of the less powerful Anuaks. 
On the Upper Pibor or Natila a tribe known as the Agibba were found, their first village being Nyanabek, about 
70 miles S. of the Akobo. For the next 60 miles villages were frequently seen. 

Lieutenant Comyn gives the following account of the Agibba tribe, who appear to strongly resemble the Nuers, 
and also in some respects the Turkana : — 

'• The Agibbas are a warlike tribe, feared by and fearing the Nuers. Their other neighbours, the Anuaks and 
Dinkas, they look on with contempt, and buy their suksuk from them. The Abyssinians do not harry this part of 
the tribe. A few men know the Nuer, Dinka and Anuak dialect. Their physique is good, but their stature is not 
uniform. Many seem to suffer from hydrocele, and I saw one man with elephantiasis in the leg. They are armed 
with roughly-made spears of various shapes, wrist knives, and an oblong shield of giraffe hide, and invariably carry 
their head-rest to sit upon. Their huts are rudely built, of a bee-hive shape, and about the same size as an 
ordinary tukl." 

" They appear to have no canoes, and I saw no fishing-spears, though plenty of fish baskets. Their ivory 
ornaments are old and small. The principal men wear over the right elbow a bunch of giraffe tails, the band 
ornamented with cowrie shells. Their clothing consists of a belt round the waist, and, in front and behind (if a man 
is well off), a skin often embroidered and edged with beads — most wear a 3J-inch band of red beads with a 1-inch 
line down the centre across their foreheads. Some of the older men had a bead-covered bowl on their heads instead. 
The hair of the younger men was dressed very neatly, like an inverted soup plate with the part over the forehead 
cut off. They have all sorts of suksuk. What they asked for were (in order of preference) cowrie shells, beads 
(janitor), brass wire, red, white and other beads. The head sheikh, whose name I think is Nadgweir (they were very 
averse to telling it) seems a man of character. All seem afraid of him, and said if they took up spears without his 
permission he would cut their throats. I saw but half-a-dozen of women and no children." 

Table of Distances along the Sobat. 



From Sobat Mouth. 

From Khartoum. 








American Mission (Tatug or Deleib) 

5| 1 9 





Khor Filiis 

4 1 6^ 






10 16 


















Pibor Mouth ... 








36J 58i 








































Baro Ford 











1. Introductofy. 

The Bahr El Ghazal was re-occupied by the troops of the Sudan Government during the winter of 1900-1901. I"tro- 
Before their advent the most recent detailed descriptions of the country (not counting the necessarily superficial '^"*^'°*"y- 
writings of the Marchand Expedition in 1898) date from pre-Dervish days {e.g.. Junker, Schweinfurth, etc.). Although 
there has not been time or opportunity for the whole of the country to be subjected to a searching examination since 
1901, still, sufficient is known to prove that great changes have taken place in the province since 1881. Roads and 
places have disappeared, the face of the country has in many parts completely changed, and tribes have disappeared, 
have been thinned out, or have emigrated to other territories. 

Thus it will be found that in many particulars the detail given in the following pages will not at all bear out the 
descriptions by Schweinfurth and Junker of 20 years or more ago. 

(For an abstract of the descriptions by these celebrated travellers, vide H.B.S. pp. 110-138.) 

2. General Description. 

The Bahr El Ghazal province is bounded on the south and west by the Congo-Nile watershed, on the north by Boundaries, 
the Bahr El Arab and Bahr El Ghazal, and on the east by the Bahr El Jebel. Its previous history and that of the 
occupation of this province in 1900-01 by the Sudan Government is narrated elsewhere (vide Part II, Chaps. V 
and VII). 

The northern boundary of the ferruginous tableland through which the western tributaries of the Nile pass from The various 
the watershed through the Bahr El Ghazal country may roughly be said to coincide with a line drawn through Rumbek areas, 
and Chamamui (Chak Chak). North of this and untU the sudd is reached, the country is flat, and the soil is clay, with 
gro-t plain ; of lo g grau and many swamps intervening — " The Steppes " of Schweinfurth. North-west of this the 
country is dry and covered with bush, cut up by small khors, which are full in the rainy season. The sudd extends 
from Lake No to Meshra El Rek (where a base post has been established), and stretches westwards towards Chamamui, 
to receive the contents of the Wau, Bongo, and Bahr El Arab rivers. 

The tableland rises gradually towards the south and west to the watershed, the undulations of the surface becoming Tlie table- 
more pronounced in this direction, and the khors more defined and frequent. Granitic outcrops, rising to 400 feet in some la"<l- 
cases, are numerous along the higher slopes of the watershed. Everywhere ironstone and crystalline rock appear 
above the thin layer of soil that covers them. Nevertheless, on the lower slopes and in the basins of the various khors 
the soil is profitable and fertile, generally of a rich copper colour with a certain amount of sandstone soil. In Telgona 
district and the country round, especially to the north and west, are several granitic outcrops, the seven-peaked Telgona 
and the conical hill of Lutu being the most remarkable. Great forests cover the country almost throughout from 
east to west. In the steppes of the lower level there are many grass plains, which become vast swamps in the rains. 
In the table-land the open plains are of no great area. 

The soil, both in the swamps and in the land liable to annual immdation, is a rich black clayey loam. In the Soil ami 
portions further away from the rivers there is often a large mixture of sand washed down from the higher lands. Most geological 
of it is, however, very suitable for cultivation. Alluvial plains border one or both banks of all the more important 
rivers for a considerable distance up their courses. It is only in the upper reaches that the alluvial deposits almost 
disappear and that the rocky tree-clad slopes descend abruptly to the river. The soil on the higher lands is usually 
sandy, and clayey in depressions or near streams. It overlies a pitted, ferruginous stone or laterite, which, in its turn, 
rests on granite, which in places degenerates into gneiss, schists, or quartzite. These granitic rocks are, as a rule, not 
visible in the lower portion of the highlands, which only show abundance of ironstone, but further inland outcrops 
of granite become more frequent, and the country becomes more undulating, forming long, low hill ranges, or throwing 
up solitary granitic hills, usually rounded in outline, but occasionally more rugged in appearance. 


Bohr El Ghaml. 


Drainage of 
the country. 


'^. Rivers and Water Supply. 

The surface of the Bahr El Ghazal country is intersected by many rivers threading their way from the watershed 
towards the Nile. Passing through the lower plateaux of the tableland, they are mostly fine broad rivers, with high 
banks and sandy bottoms, and are generally similar in formation. The Boro, Sopo, Chel, Sueh or J ur, and Rodi vary 
from 80 to 130 yards in breadth, and should be navigable for small craft, when in flood, for considerable distances. 
The current in flood is not more than 2 knots per hour. The Jur River is navigable for steamers from its mouth as 
far as the " Poste des Rapides " at Rafili, and probably above this point by light draught steamers to Khojali, from 
August till November. In the tableland and higher plateaux of the watershed, these rivers are fed by many streams 
running down from the slopes and hills. On the other hand, in the lower steppes to the north, the water runs up into 
many khors and swamps, which break away from the banks. Lower down, the banks disappear altogether, and the 
waters are discharged into the sudd. 

The western portion of the Bahr El Ghazal is drained, at least in its more elevated portions, by several rivers running 
in a more or less northerly direction. These are, beginning from the east : The Rohl (Naam) River, the Jau, the 
Tonj River, the Jur River, with its more important branch the Wau River, the Bongo River, and the Chel River, 
which, not far from Deim Zubeir, unites two branches, the Kuru and the Biri Rivers. There are also less important 
rivers, such as the Mulmul and the Getti, which do not flow during the dry weather. Tlie most important of all, on 
account of its volume of water, is the River Jur or Sueh, which, flowing from Tembura's country past Wau, joins the 
Bahr El (ihazal some 20 miles below Meshra el Rek. The courses of the other rivers, whether ultimately falling into 
the Bahr El Ghazal itself, or first joining the Bahr Telgona or Bahr El Arab, have not yet been properly explored, 
and the exploration is rendered difficult by the fact that, owing to the flatness of the country in their lower courses, 
the water spreads all over the land and forms enormous swamps which stretch to those which join the Bahr El Ghazal 
itself. The Jur itself, powerful a stream as it is, does not break the rule, and the parties occupied in cutting its sudd 
had great difficulty in tracing the channel when crossing the swamps. According to its drainage, then, the country 
can be divided into three zones, viz., (a) the perennial swamps near the mouths of the rivers, (b) the somewhat raised 
alluvial flats further up, which are liable to inundation during tlie rains, and (c) the undulating plateaux or hilly 
country in the upper reaches. 

In the dry season water is scarce in the plains and plateaux. It is generally obtained from shallow pits and wells, 
seldom more than 20 feet below the surface, though it cannot always be found at that level. 

4. Administvdtion. 

The Bahr El Ghazal now forms a Province under a Mudir or Governor (and Commandant) assisted by three or 
four British officers and inspectors. The headquarters are at Wau. 

At present a line of Government posts has been established from east to west as follows : — Shambe on the Nile, 
Rumbek, Tonj, Wau (the headquarters), Chamamui (Chak Chak), Deim Zubeir and Telgona. A post has also recently 
been established at Kossinga and another at Kafi Kingi to the north-west of the province. Each of these posts consists! 
of a small garrison, a few huts, and store-houses. 

For administrative piurposes the Province is divided into three Districts — " Eastern," Headquarters at Rumbek ; 
" Central," Headquarters at Wau ; and " Western," Headquarters at Deim Zubeir. 



"Odilo" ..r 

5. Resources. 

The resources of the country are yet to be developed. 

There is a good deal of ivory, and elephants are still very numerous in many parts, especially towards the north, 
where they feed on the gum tree. The natives hunt them, but do not apparently reduce the numbers to any extent. 

Ivory now forms one of the chief products of the Province. 

The following information regarding the forests of the Bahr EI Ghazal is taken from a report by Mr. A. F. Broun, 
Director of Forests to the Sudan Government. 

As regards the india-rubber, the rubber-yielding species is found to be a fairly large apocynaceous creeper, a 
landolphia, called " Odilo " by the Jurs, and " Ndala " by the Golos and Dinkas. Of three other similar plants, one 
is an apocjmaceous climber (also a landolphia) called " Apwamah " by the Jurs and Dinkas and " Bi " by the Golos, 
nearly allied to the first ; another is a large (originally epifhytic) ficus, known as " Kwel " ; while the third, known 
generally by its Arabic name " Lulu," is a bassia (Parkii), and the only one which belongs to the natural order, the 
sajwtacecB, which )nelds the best gutta-percha. 

" Odilo " or " Ndala " (landolphia owariensis) is found almost entirely on the ironstone, and only in very rocky 

Buhr El Ghaxal. 155 

situations, such as the edges of the ironstone plateau. In such places, although by no means rare, it is by no means 
so well represented as its cousin the " Apwama " (or " Bi "), from which it can be recognised by its young and slightly 
hairy shoots, and by its fruit, which is smaller and with a sweet pulp, while that of the " Apwama " is acidulated. 
It is also a smaller climber than the latter. There is, apparently, no " Odilo " on the route from Wau to Deim Zubeir 
via Chak Chak, nor between the Bongo and the Chel near Deim Zubeir, but in the old days it used to be obtained in 
abundance from places far or near, and was purchased by Government. It is, in fact, fairly well distributed all over 
the Province. 

The usual native method of collecting is as follows : — 

A tangential slice is taken out of the bark, no special care being taken not to reach the wood, and, as the milk 
oozes out of the various milk vessels which have been cut through, it is taken up by the finger and spread out on the 
collector's bare skin, either on the arm or over the stomach. It dries very quickly and is collected into a ball by being 
rolled with the hand, or into a spindle-shaped mass round a piece of twig. The rapidity with which the milk coagulates 
is very striking, for, five minutes after the cut is made, all that has been collected is made up into a ball and is ready 
for the market. This peculiarity, although in many ways it shows the excellence of the rubber, renders the clean 
collection a matter of great difficulty, for the wounds get covered by a film very quickly, and collection in vessels 
seems to be almost impossible. During the rainy season the outflow of milk is more copious. 

The other landolphia (florida), " Apwama " or " Bi," grows under similar conditions as " Odilo." It is however, "Apwama ' 
more abundant, and grows to a larger size. It is a gigantic climber which reaches the crowns of the tallest trees. Its or " Bi." 
milky juice is much more copious than that of its cousin, but, on the other hand, it coagulates with much more difficulty. 
The difficulty with the collection of this latex is to obtain it pure. The bark of the creeper is coarse, and as the 
stems are not upright but bent in all directions, it is difficult to hang collecting bottles in such a way as to make 
a clean collection. The indiarubber obtained from the " Apwama " is far inferior to that which the " Odilo " produces, 
and has but little elasticity. 

The " Kwel " (Ficus platyphylla) is a large fig-tree which is found all over the province, but is most abundant " Kwel." 
in the lowlands, especially between Wau and Meshra El Rek. In appearance it is a good deal like the " Banyan " 
(Ficus bengalensis). Like the " Banyan," it usually germinates on another tree, generally in a place where moisture 
is retained for some time, such as the fork of the stem, the axil of a palm leaf, etc. After some time it begins sending 
down roots, which, following the stem, utlimately reach the ground. Once this is eflfected the young tree grows apace, 
sends down fresh roots, which ultimately surround the stem of the host and finally kill it. Many such figs germinate 
in the axils of dead leaves on the " Deleib " which they finally fold in their embrace. The palms, being endogenous, 
are hard to kill, hence the not uncommon spectacle of a " Deleib " growing out of a tree. Many " Kwel " trees 
in the Dinka districts have become mutilated by badly done tapping. This latex, when dry, forms a resinous brittle 
gum, apparently of little value, as it is used by the natives to clean brass ornaments. When the tree is tapped the 
latex flows in abundance, pulsating somewhat like blood from a cut artery. 

The " Lulu " (Butyrospermum Parkii) belongs to the family of Sapotacew. It is common all over the ironstone "Lulu." 
country, and grows abundantly on the borders of the alluvial flats and the plateaux, especially between the Tonj and 
Naam rivers. The fruit of the " Lulu," called the " Sudan date," forms a staple food. Edible oil, greatly used in 
cooking, is extracted from the kernel, which resembles the horse chestnut. 

The forests of the Bahr El Ghazal will probably some day be of great value on account of the number of trees Tanning 
which yield tannin. The two great families from which tannin is obtained, viz., CombretacecB and Mimosce, are abun- product.s. 
dantly represented, and some trees have already a reputation for their richness in tannin, viz., " Abu Surug " [Prosopis 
oUonga) and " Mudus " (Parkia filicoidea), the bark of which fetches a good price at Omdurman. 

With some notable exceptions, the forests have suffered from fire ; the trees are stunted, crooked, hollow, or generally Timber, 
misshapen, and fire-protection will be required to obtain better grown timber. There are, however, a few gigantic 
trees which have risen above the fires and would yield timber of large dimensions. The most common is perhaps Khaya 
Senegalensis (" Homra " Arabic name), a tree of the family of the Meliacew, to which mahogany and satin wood belong, 
and which generally gives handsome or useful timber. The bark is, not unlikely, a febrifuge, and the seed yields an oil 
which keeps away flies, etc., from wounds ; it is used against the " serut " flies. There are also two enormous trees 
of the family of the Lecjuminosw, viz., the "Mudus" (mentioned above), which is found abundantly near Tonj and 
sporadically to Wau, and the " Shande " (Jur name) (Daniellia Thurifera) which grows on the banks of the Wau River, 
not far from old Wau. There are several others of varying dimensions and also Bamboos, but these are not in 
sufficient quantities to be considered as an article of export. " Rattan " is also found near Tembura. 

For further timber, etc., resources, see under Forestry, p. 157. 

Bees are abundant in the Bahr El Ghazal, and large quantities of honey are collected every year. Wax and 


Salt is found only in the west, in the Faroge district, but is in demand everywhere. Salt. 


Bnhr El GImzal. 

Gtofm. Generally speaking, the ground is cleared in April. Crops are sown in May, and reaped in November-December. 

One crop a year. 

Indian corn is grown extensively in the plateaux. Sown in April, it ripens in August. Sorghum dura is grown 
universally. The Dinkas, living near the marshes, sow this at the end of March, it ripens in October, and has a 
short stalk 4 feet high. Everywhere else it grows 12 feet high and ripens in December. Ground nuts and pumpkins 
are also universally grown, especially by the Dinkas. Simsim, telabun, dukhn, and various vegetables are met 
with in the habitations of other tribes. Locusts play great havoc with the crops, and the natives, especially the 
Dinkas, are too lazy to combat them. The crops are increasing in extent, especially in the western portion ; each 
military post cultivates a certain amount, but it is expected that the natives will soon produce enough (bar accidents 
and drought) to supply the troops and any demand that may be made on them. 

Minerals. Iron is very plentiful almost throughout the province, and is extensively worked {vide p. 160). A recent analysis 

of the iron ore gives a percentage of 47 per cent, of pure iron. 

Copper is only found at the rich mines of Hofrat El Nahas, near the southern borders of Darfur. It lies in the 
midst of a deserted country, and has not been worked for a long time. It had not been visited by Europeans (until 
Colonel Sparkes's recent journey, February, 1903), since 1876 (Purdy).* According to recent analysis of a specimen 
the ore is a silicate and carbonate, not a sulphate, of copper, containing 14 per cent, of pure metal. Although there is 
an immense quantity of this ore, its distance from civilisation and the obstacles to transport will render its develop- 
ment a matter of considerable difficulty for some time to come. In places, it sticks up in ridges above the surface. 

Currency. Different tribes and districts have a fancy for various articles of barter. " Genotor " (Gianotta) beads (round, 

black beads with white and coloured spots) are useful anywhere. With the Dinkas, small white and red beads (" Suk- 
suk ") and brass wire, especially in the form of bracelets, are acceptable ; but cloth only holds a steady demand on the 
direct routes to Government posts, where the inhabitants are thrown into contact with civilisation ; it is, however, 
rapidly becoming more popular, and in some parts of the country is preferred to beads. Jurs like beads, brass and cloth. 
Golos and Bongos prefer cloth, which also obtains the best value from the Nyam Nyams. The Dinkas in the north 
have been in the habit of exchanging ivory for cattle with the Baggara Arabs. 

6. Ciimnte and Hygiene. 

The rainy seasonf begins in April and ends in November ; December, January, February, and March arc the dry 
months, when the humidity is slight, though there is always a certain amount of dew. From the end of April till the 
middle of November rain falls, on the average, one day out of three, generally in very heavy showers lasting for two or 
three hours at a time. In the early months terrific thunderstorms accompany the showers. The shade temperature in 
the dry season shows an average maximum of 98° and a minimum of 59° In the rainy season the maximum in 
April, May, and June averages 89°, and from July to December 85°. The minimum average during these months 
is 70°. During the rains the humidity is excessive, and the dews exceedingly heavy. 

Siekne«. About 80 per cent, of the sickness in the Bahr El Ghazal is due to malaria. It attacks Europeans and Egyptians 

Malaria. more severely than blacks. 

The frequency and severity of this disease varies with the season and also with the locality. June and July have 
proved the most unhealthy months ; the rainy season being then at its height. From December to March there is very 
little sickness. The natives state that some years are far more unhealthy than others, but this does not seem to depend 
upon the amount of rainfall. The most unhealthy stations are Wau, Meshra El Rek, and Tonj, all of which are built 
close to the river banks, whilst Rumbek and Deim Zubeir, which are some miles from a river, and watered from wells, 
are comparatively healthy. It is a noticeable fact that the natives never build villages near the river bank, but generally 
at least a mile inland ; they also usually drink from wells. This is probably done to avoid mosquitoes, and therefore 
is a possible reason for the small amount of fever amongst them. Mosquitos cannot breed in shallow wells from which 
all the water is drawn several times daily. By selecting these positions for their villages they are also removed from 
the marsh, which is usually found on one or other bank of the river. Egyptians are more susceptible rJian Europeans, 
and the Sudanese from Khartoum more so than natives. 

Varieties of Although the ordinary periodic t}'pes of fever are met with, and easily combated by quinine, a malignant type 

fever. is far from uncommon, and is a very serious trouble. The patient may have two or three distinct attacks of fever in 

one day, and often on two or three consecutive days, leaving him weak and unfit for duty. Vomiting is a common 
accompaniment, and sometimes continues for two days. The stomach refuses food or medicine, and quinine has to be 
injected subcutaneously. Drugs, however, seem to have little effect on the course of the fever. The after effects 

* Natives of the dititrict deny that it was ever visited by Belgians from tlie Congo Free State between these years, oi' in 1894, 
as has been stated. 

t Sainfall at Wau (1904) 25 to 3f) inches. 

Bahr El Gkuzal. 157 

met with are anaemia, rheumatism, neuralgia, and dyspepsia. The most serious complication, however, is " blackwater 
fever," which is a hemoglobinuria, occurring in a patient saturated with malaria. The red-blood corpuscles are destroyed 
by the action of the malarial parasite, and the haemoglobin thus set free is passed in the urine, giving it its characteristic 
port wine colour. The patient becomes terribly weak, has acute pain over the stomach, vomits frequently, and cannot 
retain any nourishment, the heart becomes very feeble, and death only too often follows. At present there have been 
as far as is known, since 1900, about eight cases, with only two recoveries ; it does not appear to attack natives 
at all. 

Guinea worm is common amongst the natives and Sudanese. It has been met with all over the country, from Guinea 
Meshra El Rek to the Nyam Nyam country. It appears in June and July, and is often the cause of ankylosis of the worm, 
joints. From observations made in 1901-02 the period of incubation would appear to be a long one — probably 10 or 
12 months. At least one European has developed it. 

Boils are common and appear in epidemic form, chiefly attacking the hands. Eoils. 

Dysentery in its true form has not been met with. The water supply at all stations is good. Dysentery. 

Small-pox occurs occasionally amongst the natives and carries off hundreds. An outbreak occurred amongst Small-pox. 
Tembura's Nyam Nyams in the winter of 1903-04. 

Phthisis in all its forms is common, and is believed to be responsible for a large percentage of the mortality amongst Phthisis, 
natives. September, October and November are the months in which it is most prevalent. 

Night blindness is common. 

Beyond mention of the great frequency of hydrocele and hernia amongst the natives, there is nothing else that 
calls for special remark. 

Mosquitos are not very numerous on the dry plateaux of the table-land and the lower steppes during the dry season, Mosquitos. 
but abound during the rainy season near the rivers. Near the sudd, and on it, they are always to be met with, but 
not in any quantities away from the rivers. At least two out of six specimens sent home were found to belong to 
malaria-bearing species. 

A species of the tsetse fly, identified as Glossina morsitans, was discovered in 1903 (April) by Major G. R. Tsetse Hy. 
Griffith, D.S.O. Beyond its often fatal attacks on animals, it seems otherwise harmless. Sleeping sickness is Sleeping 
unknown in the Bahr El Ghazal, though fatal cases have occurred in the Lado enclave, which adjoins it. sickness. 

7. Forcdry* 

The Bahr El Ghazal province is, unfortunately, no exception to the general rule which prevails in the Sudan Fires. 
Traces of fires are clear everywhere, from the grass lands near the rivers to the innermost portions of the uninhabited 
forest tracts to the north-east and east of Deim Zubeir. The largest fires are started in the grass lands near the rivers 
in order to provide tender herbage for the cattle. These, as they sweep inland, are fed by others, which are made to 
clear the country near the villages, and they are then carried on until they rush on and penetrate into the forest them- 
selves. In the forests, where the paths get overgrown with grass, travellers fire the grass, not only to clear the way, 
but to provide against coming unexpectedly on wild animals. Further, fires are lighted for hunting purposes. The 
reed rat, which lives in long grass near water, and which is generally relished for its meat, is hunted by setting fire to 
the grass, and the hunting of other animals, including the elephant, is accomplished in a similar manner. It is 
evident that before such fierce fires seedling growth is killed out ; that saplings and young trees are killed or mutilated, 
and that larger trees themselves must suffer, especially on the outskirts of the forests. So heavy is the toll taken that 
more wobd is destroyed each year than is produced by the increase in girth and by the birth of new trees in places 
respected by the fires once in a way. In other words, the capital is being eaten into, the forests are deteriorating, and, 
unless protected, will ultimately disappear. Apart from purely economic reasons this is a prospect which is not good 
to contemplate if the effect of such a denudation is considered. 

As before mentioned, the country can be divided into three divisions, according to the amount of drainage. Each Forest 
of these divisions has its own characteristic vegetation : — zones. 

The ambach (Herminiera elajjhroxylon), which in places forms dense covers, and on the upper Bahr El Ghazal Swamp 
almost supplants papyrus, is the only plant which may claim to form forest vegetation. It may in future be of use, '''fgetation. 
owing to its lightness, in floating timber down the river. 

On the land, which is under water annually at flood time, forest vegetation is scanty, and such trees as there are Lands not 
are usually perched on the top of termite hills. Such are the Sarcocephalus escidentus and Mitragyne Africana always sub- 
(Rnbiaceae), the ardeib, dabka, gughan, the small-leaved inderab, and, where the soil is poor, Euphorbia candelabrum. '"'^'"^ 
Large expanses of country are treeless, owing to fires and heavy felling. 

* Taken from a report by Mr. A. F. Broun, Director of Forests to the Sudan Government. 

Y 2 


Bnhr El GJmml. 








On the higher ground the chief ones are tamarind and gughan, with sidr bushes, talh (acacia), and talh- 
beida forests, um shutur, zeitun (edible fruit), abu khamera and heglig, and occasionally habil. 

The above trees are also found on the higher land, but generally near water or in clay soil and in smaller quantities. 
The highland forests, however, differ largely from those on the lower lands, there being little acacia or thorny growth. 
Among the largest trees are the nwana (tanning bark " mudus ") and abu surug (tanning bark), kuru, riang or bei, 
shanda and koba (in best parts of forest), digdig (sweet yellow flowers), homra (large tree, allied to mahogany, also 
called homraya or raurraya), and lulu (blackish scaly bark and tufted leaves, gutta-percha tree, above described). 

The quality of the forests is at present not high. The best forests are those found in the broad, uninhabited stretch 
between Deim Zubeir and the Bongo, but even here the frequency of fires has prevented the stock from being at all 
uniform. In other places, where fires are still more frequent, and where there are traces of former cultivation, the 
stock is of a much more patchy character, and degenerates into curtains of forest surrounding blanks, or into mere scrub 
composed of contorted shoots of habil, dorut, kalto, akan, grewia, etc. It is, however, satisfactory to note that, 
even in such fireworn areas, there are still to be seen scattered here and there enormous trees such as shande, homra, 
bei, nwana, etc. But at the same time it is also a fact that, except in the case of koba, which reproduces itself fairly 
freely, the other large trees are not at all largely represented among those of younger generations, notwithstanding the 
fact that most of them seed abundantly. The most that can be said of these forests is that the larger trees are very 
fairly represented and that with proper treatment and protection some magmiicent reserves could be evolved. 

Homra : enormous size, would make a fine cabinet wood. Pinkish inside, but soon turns mahogany brown ; 
found on ironstone. 

Heglig : not very tall, but 6 to 8 feet in girth. Timber durable and not liable to attack by white ants ; lowlands, 
clayey soil. 

Koba : graceful, rounded crown, flat pods, abundant, good brown building timber, much used by Jurs ; highland. 
Digdig : large tree, straight bole, sweet yellow flowers, leafless during the cold season, strong yellowish timber ; 

Ardeib : grows large, timber of very old trees is beautiful, mottled black and white, much valued in cabinet trade 
and also for its fruit ; clayey soil. 

Abu surug : large, fine dark red wood, capable of good polish, used chiefly by iron smelters for charcoal, bark 
rich in tannin ; common in highlands. 

Nwana : very large and abundant, white timber, not strong, but useful for planking, seed pulp sweet and edible, 
bark (" mudus ") good for tanning ; ironstone. 

Silag : common, tall, graceful, birchlike, white timber fairly durable, much used for building, leaves probably 
rich in tannin ; highland tree. 

Gughan : ebony family, sometimes very large, fine dark brown timber which turns black on exposure, much used 
for gun stocks ; clay soil. 

Abnus : Sudan ebony (not true ebony), crooked and thinnish ; scattered on rocky soil in highlands. 
Zeitun : teak family, large size, white wood, not strong ; lowlands or clayey soil in highlands. 
Bamboo : apparently strong and good, used for rafts and roofing ; line banks of khors in highlands. 
The mottled-leaved Sanseveira guineensis is found all over the portion of the province visited. It yields a strong 
and durable fibre. Strong jungle ropes for building are made with a species of vitis growing in the highland forests, 
while grewias and sterculias yield strong best fibre. In the Nyam Nyam country the bark of a fig is used as cloth. 

Many trees in these forests yield edible fruits, but most of them are poor and insipid, with the exception of lulu, 
which has a fruit, the pulp of which is not only eaten, but the kernel yields an edible oil which is said to be a good 
substitute for " ghee." Klato has a not unpleasant acidulated fruit, and the fruits of both apwama and odilo are 
also eaten. The pods of the nwana contain a sweet farinaceous pulp ; and a gardenia has a large ovoid fruit, which 
is not unlike a very inferior apple. The fruit of zeitun is also eaten, and when roasted and ground it makes an excellent 
substitute for tea. 

It id impossible to omit mention of a very important industry which is connected with, but would be impossible 
in this province without an adequate supply of fuel. Iron smelting is carried on with a certain activity by Jurs and 
Bongos. The ironstone and laterite, which form the upper layer of rocks over a great portion of the province, are very 
rich in iron* ; and, with proper working, all the needs of the Sudan, and possibly also of Upper Egypt, could be supplied 
from this province. For this, however, it will be necessary to work the forest in a systematic manner in order to make 
sure of a continuous supply. 

* Analysis of ore — 47 per cent, of pure iron. 

Bakr El Ohazrd. 159 

8. Communications and Transport. 

The chief difficulty to contend with in the Bahr El Ghazal is that of transport. During the rainy season (May Transport. 
or June to November) since a large portion of the country is flooded, it is almost impossible to get about. Stores have, 
therefore, to be laid in beforehand during the dry season. 

Between Meshra El Rek and Wau the direct road is practically closed from the middle of June to the middle 
of November, though communication by single individuals is possible by a roundabout route during this period. 

Between Wau and Rumbek the road is difficult, though never entirely closed, from August to November. The 
same applies to the Wau-Deim Zubeir road. 

Between Rumbek and Shambe (on the Nile) the road is impassable for animals from the end of April or May 
till early December. In October, 1903, nearly the whole of this route was actually under water. 

On all the above-mentioned roads, however, carriers with light loads can get about, though with difficulty, all the 
year round. 

As thick bush and forest prevail almost throughout, the routes everywhere are merely narrow tracks with tortuous 
windings, which can only be traversed in single file. When the grass grows long, high overhead in the autum.n, the 
tracks are not easy to find. The main Government routes, however, have been much improved. 

Carrier transport is the most suitable, but carriers in great numbers are not easily procurable and are never obtained 
from the Dinkas. The Golos, Bongos, Ndoggos and Nyam Nyams are willing to carry. The ordinary load for a man 
is 40 to 50 lbs. besides his own food. 

Mules and donkeys can be used along most of the routes. Mules, especially the Abyssinian breed, answer best. Miile-s. 
Donkeys are useful but die in great numbers. Camels have been successfully employed from Shambe to Rumbek and Uonkeys. 
from Meshra El Rek to Wau and Tonj river post during the dry season ; but the rainy season does not agree with them, *^'3'"»*'ls- 
and nearly all have died. In the rainy season camels cannot move, and mules and donkeys only with difficulty. The 
chief causes of mortality amongst all transport animals are overwork, fly, bad roads and poisonous grasses. It is 
doubtful how far the climate shares in causing these losses. Practically all transport animals have to be brought into 
the country. Generally speaking, mules and donkeys thrive better than camels. 

Rough carts drawn by oxen are being tried, and have given good results so far. Each cart carries a load of Oxen. 
600 lbs. Pack oxen are slow, and require much time for grazing. 

In the rainy season a fly, resembling the common horse-fly, attacks horses, donkeys, and mules, and cattle in certain Fly. 
rocky districts. At Wau this pest is particularly prevalent. The animals generally sicken and die in a fortnight. 
This fly is well known to the natives. As before stated a species of Tsetse fly has been identified on the Bongo River, 
vide p. 1.57. 

Below Meshra El Rek steamers ply on the Bahr El Ghazal, but from the end of April till the end of August they River 
are stopped at the mouth of the Jur, or even to the north of it. Light craft can generally get through to Meshra El transport. 
Rek during that period, but with much difficulty. 

The Jur river is now open to navigation for small steamers and light craft from August till the end of November, 
as far as Wau, and even to Rafili, the sudd having been cleared to a great extent from its mouth to Wau. During the 
rest of the year it is only navigable for about half this latter distance from the mouth. In June, in spite of rains, it is 
almost dry {see p. 154). 

9. The Tribes of the Bahr EJ Ghazal. 

The Dinkas occupy the lowlands in the north of the province, their southern limit being the edge of the table- General. 
land, where the good grazing and pasture land terminates. 

On the lower slopes of the ironstone plateaux, between Rumbek and the Bongo river, there are many Jur settle- 
ments. Between the Tonj and Bongo rivers are a few villages of the Bongo tribe, which have survived the raids of the 
Nyam Nyams from the south. Golos, Ndoggos, and Kreich, who formerly held the country west of Wau to Deim 
Zubeir, have been driven further north by the same powerful tribe, and have taken refuge in the district between Wau 
and Chamamui, where they are now more or less under the protection of the Dinkas. South of these tribes, and 
separated from them by a broad belt of uninhabited forest about 100 miles wide, are the Nyam Nyams. 

In the west the Mandalla tribe live in Telgona district, but the ruling classes in that district, including Sultan 
Nasser Andel, have Arab blood in them, introduced through their relations with tha tribes of Darfur. The same may 
be said of the Faroge tribe, ruled by Sultan Musa, who reads and writes Arabic. To the east, on the lower slopes 
of the plateaux, are the Mittu, Wira, and Madi tribes. 


Bahr El Ghazal. 

Dinkas. The Dinkas. — There is no ruling chief, but every little district has its own head man or sheikh, and fighting 

frequently occurs between neighbouring districts. A man is powerful in proportion to the number of cattle he owns 
and the size of his family. Head men may own up to 30 or even 40 wives, but six is a fair average. The great object 
of the Dinka is to acquire cattle, to which they pay a kind of reverence. Owing to in-breeding the produce of cattle 
is not numerous. The yield of milk is insignificant. The price of a wife* varies from 25 to 40 head of cattle. A head 
man is generally succeeded by his eldest son ; and in this respect the Dinkas are generally loyal. In character they 
are savage, deceitful, and treacherous, but their domestic ties are strong. Tending flocks and herds is the occupation 
of the Dinka. They are very lazy, and cultivate only small crops ; but they levy taxes of corn and produce on the 
neighbouring Jurs and Golos. 

The Dinkas are poor sportsmen. They do some fishing, chiefly with spears in the pools of rivers during the dry 
season, but are bad trackers and hunters of big game. Spears, long in shaft and blade, made by the Jurs, and wooden 
clubs of hard wood or ebony are their weapons. Tobacco is grown, chiefly for chewing, and occasionally for smoking. 
Most of the men carry a plug of tobacco behind the ear. 

Dura crops ripen in September in the low-lying areas, being sown in May. Lubia (beans), pumpkins, and monkey 
nuts are also cultivated. Cow dung is used for fires. The ashes of charcoal and cow dung are rubbed in the hair, and 
all over the body by the cattle owners and young warriors. 

The Dinkas are a tall, slim race of men, 5 feet 9 inches being a fair average height, and the women about 5 feet 
7 inches. The men wear no clothing, but fantastic head-dresses decked with ostrich feathers ; they are fond of beads 
as ornaments. The women wear numerous earrings of brass and a leather apron fore and aft. Brass bracelets are 
•KOTn by both men and women ; ivory bracelets by the men only. Compare also pp. 126 to 1.30 and pp. 132 and 144. 
Jure. The Jurs. — The Jurs are very like the Dinkas in appearance, the skin being perhaps a shade lighter, but in habits 

they are more civilised and peaceful. They are said to have originally been a branch of the Shilluk tribe. Their 
language is quite different from the Dinkas, but most of them speak and understand the language of the latter, to whom 
they are subservient. 

Living on the northern slope of the ferruginous table-land, where ore is easily obtained from the surface, the Jurs 
practise iron-smelting, with small furnaces about 4 feet high from the ground. " Malots " (small hand-trowels used 
for turning the soil), spears, cowbells, and axes are made in this way. 

Dura is cultivated extensively, but is later than the Dinka crops, ripening in November. This may be said of all 
the dura grown in the plateaux and higher ground away from the marshes. 

The Jurs understand tracking, and are accustomed to setting rough traps for lion, leopard, and hyena. 

The women, like the Dinkas, wear leather aprons, bracelets and anklets of brass or iron. A wife costs from 40 to 
50 malots, or 20 or 30 sheep and goats. The men are fond of clothing. 
Golos. The Golcs. — The Golos are an intelligent, active race, willing to learn and to work. 

The cultivation of crops is their chief occupation. Besides dura and Indian corn they grow telabun, dukhn, lubia, 
simsim, onions, sweet potatoes, water melons, pumpkins and " bedingan." They keep a few sheep and many fowls, 
but no cattle. 

The huts are well built, with ventilation between the wall and roof, and are clean both inside and outside. 

" Malots " (iron hoes) are bought from the Jurs for honey, skins, labour, etc. A wife costs 40 malots. 

The men are fond of clothes, and are generally clad like the Sudanese over the rest of the Sudan. They are fairly 
skilful weavers, using the cotton of the country, which, however, is not extensively cultivated. The women, on the 
contrary, are content with a bunch of leaves fore and aft, but are fond of beads. 

The Golos are good sportsmen and trackers. They possess a fair number of guns, chiefly old traders and Remington 
rifles, but have very little ammunition. Bows and arrows and elbow knives are other weapons used. 
Bongos. The Bongos. — The Bongos have the same occupations and appearance as the Golos, but are rather shorter and 

more thick-set. 

The women wear a large circular stone on the upper lip or a wooden plug pierced through the lower. 

Decimated by the Nyam Nyams and slave-traders, very few of them practise the crafts that they 
were formerly skilled in. Like the Jurs, they are accustomed to smelting ore and working in iron. Their dexterity 
in wood carving is shown in the various utensils, stools, spoons, etc., which they still make. Great attention and trouble 
is devoted to basket work and weaving grass mats. 

The Bongos are fond of music, and play with string and wind instruments. 

The Ndoggos and Kreich. — The Ndoggos and Kreich are similar to the Golos and Bongos in appearance, but 

reicli. not 80 comely as the former and not so short as the Bongos. They are slightly fairer in skin. Having formerly lived 

prosperously in the districts where the old Government posts were established (Deim Zubeir, Deim Bekir, Deim Idris, 


* Compare pp. 128 and 145, price of wives amongst Dinkas at Bor, and amongst the Siiilluks, p. 


Bahr El Ghazal. 161 

Wau, and Jur Ghattas), these tribes, Dinkas excepted, clearly realise the protection and other benefits accorded by 
a civilised Government. 

The Nyam Nyams. — The Nyam Nyams or Azande are the most intelligent, keen and well-ordered tribe in the Bahr Nyam 
El Ghazal province. Nyama. 

The tribe — covering, roughly, the south-west third of the province and a portion of the Congo Free State and 
Haut Ubangi to the south and west of the Nile-Congo watershed — is split up into five districts, each governed by 
a chief, holding absolute power, and these chiefs form two factions, which constantly quarrel. 

Tembura, Zemio and Sasa make the western faction ; Ndoruma and Yambio the eastern. 

Colonel Sparkes, says in the account of his patrol to Tembura's country : — 

" Tembura is a shrewd, intelligent man, anxious for progress and development, and the Nyam Nyams generally 
are far superior to any other people I have met up here. 

" Tembura's standing army, which is quartered round him, consists of about 4,000 men, of whom 1,000 have 
rifles or guns of sorts, and the rest spears, bows and arrows. They look after and handle their guns exceedingly well, 
and have been taught a certain amount of drill by the French. 

" Besides quantities of dura, the Nyam Nyams grow bananas, limes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, manioc, 
onions, and many other sorts of vegetables. Excepting a few of the head men, they have no cattle, sheep or goats, 
though quantities of fowls are kept everywhere. 

" Yambio has the largest number of people under him, but is the least civilised, never having been brought into 
direct contact with Europeans, as have the others." 

The Nyam Nyams are great hunters, and all the chiefs possess a considerable quantity of ivory. The men wear 
well-woven straw hats, with cock's feathers, and loose breeches made of " Roko " bark. 

The women are clad like the Golos and Bongos, but are more reserved and retiring than the latter. Both men and 
women dress their hair, grown long, in various styles. Beards are cultivated and are greatly admired if long. 

Of cannibalism amongst the Nyam Nyams there is not much heard, but it is a fact that they eat their enemies 
who have fallen in battle and those who die. They eat dogs when they can get them. Schweinfurth considers this 
custom as allied to cannibalism. 

Lighter coloured than the other tribes, they consider themselves " white men." 

Both Tembura and Yambio have a fine country, perhaps the cream of the Bahr El Ghazal, well watered by flowing Country, etc. 
streams, undulating, and growing many lulu, banana, and other fine trees. The country teems with many kinds of 
game : elephant, eland, rhinoceros, and buffalo all being numerous, the former especially so. The Nyam Nyams 
manufacture a white cotton cloth, similar to fine sacking. They are practically all clothed, and would probably readily 
purchase cloth. 

Their arms are bows, arrows and spears, but both these sultans now possess a considerable number of rifles. 

They were formerly, in the old Government days, converts to Islam, but they (Tembura at any rate) both now 
merely believe in the existence of a God, without participating in any form of religion. 

The Mittu, Madi, and Wira Tribes. — These tribes, living on the eastern border of the Nyam Nyams, resemble Mittu, Madi 
the Bongos, but are physically inferior to the latter. They have suffered too, in the same way as the Bongos, from the and Wira. 
raids of the Nyam Nyams. 

The Madi and Wira tribes are really sub-tribes of the Mittu, and they all speak the same Mittu dialect. 

Regarding the teeth of the different tribes : — Teeth. 

Jurs and Dinkas extract the lower incisors ; the Nyam Nyams file the upper incisors to a point ; Golos, Ndoggos, 
Bongos, and Belandas file the upper incisor only on the inner aspect. But many of the latter, who have been brought 
up in the Nyam Nyam country, have the tooth-marks of that tribe. In fact, the tooth distinction is becoming less 
characteristic, owing to interchanging of tribes. 

10. Gnm>:. 

The following is a list of the game which is to be found in the Bahr El Ghazal province ; — 

Elephant (numerous throughout). Hippopotamus (in all rivers). 

Buffalo. Roan-antelope. 

Eland exist in the higher plateaux, near Wau Waterbuck (throughout). 

and DeimZubeir, and the Situtungais said Mrs. Grey's waterbuck (Cobus Maria) (swampy 
to be found in the marshlands of the Jur grass land on banks of Jur and Bahr El 

River. Ghazal Rivers.) 

Giraffe (in eastern and north-western portions). Tiang. 

Rhinoceros (throughout). Jackson's hartebeeste. 


Bahr El Ghnzal. 

White-eared cob.* 

Great bustard 

Bushbuck (throughout). 

Ground hornbili. 

Reedbuck (in neighbourhood of 


Guinea fowl. 


Nile goose. 



Wild boar. 

Rock fowl. 

Wart hog. 

Sand grouse. 

Lion (throughout, but rare). 


Leopard (throughout). 

Spur fowl. 


Spur-winged goose. 

Comb duck. 

Whistling teal 


White ibis. 

11. Mdii/inus 



amnmi the Natives of the Biihr Ei Ghazdl: 

In making enquiries as to religious beliefs among the people here, one is met at the outset by two difficulties. 
The first and greater is the reticence displayed on such subjects by the natives, and the second is that the interpreter, 
being invariably an Arabic-speaking native who has with his Arabic acquired the Moslem faith, is liable to colour 
his translations with ideas of his own ; partly out of shame for the beliefs he has discarded, and partly fron), his anxiety 
to tell you what he thmks you expect. Perseverance in this line of enquiry is, however, well repaid, as the primitive 
religions of the tribes in the Bahr El Ghazal are most interesting and suggestive. 

The Dinkas, though the most difficult of all to approach on such subjects, appear to have a most elaborate list 
of gods and demi-gods. At the head of the Divine community are Deng-dit (Rain Giver) and Abok, his wife. They 
have two sons, Kiir Konga, the elder, and Gurung-dit, the younger, and a daughter called Ai-Yak. 

Their devil is called L'wal Burrajok, and is the father of Ab"k, the wife of Deng-dit. There are also other 

Their story of the origin of mankind (or it may be of the Dinka tribe) is curious and poetical. Deng-dit gave to 
his wife, Abok, a bowl of fat, and she and her children, softening the fat over the fire, proceeded to mould from it 
men and women, in the image of gods. Deng-dit warned her against L'wal (the Shaitan), who was suspected to have 
ill-intentions towards Deng-dit. But Abok forgot, and with her children went to gather wood in the forest. There 
L'wal found the bowl, drank the greater part of the fat, and from the remainder proceeded to mould caricatures of 
men and women, with distorted limbs, mouths, and eyes. Then, fearing the vengeance of Deng-dit, he descended 
to earth by the path that then connected it with heaven. On discovering the result of her neglect, Abok hastened to 
her husband, who, greatly incensed, started in pursuit of L'will. The latter, however, had persuaded the bird 
Atoitoish to bite asunder with its bill the path from heaven to earth, and thus escaped from the Divine wrath. 

In spite of this complicated mythology, the Dinkas appear to be very indifferent to religion as an active principle 
in life. They are without any plan of prayer, and though they assert that their forefathers made great sacrifices to (Jod, 
the present generation thinks twice about parting with a goat — to say nothing of a cow — for sacrificial purposes. Sacrifices 
constitute, however, their only attempts at intercourse with God. In fact, they seem to regard him not as a being 
likely to confer benefits, but as a destructive power to be propitiated, if possible. 

The Golos also believe in male and female deities, called Umvili and Barachi, respectively. This couple is said to 
have originated the human race, and to be the parents of mankind. This belief is, I think, common to the Golo, 
N'Doggo, Shere, and Belanda tribes, and possibly also to the A-Zande or Nyam Nyams. 

They have vague ideas as to future bliss for worthy, and punishment for evil, doers ; the execution of the latter 
is entrusted to a spirit called Ma-ah, who corresponds to Shaitan, but is the servant rather than the enemy of God ; 
some of the Golo songs in common use are of the nature of moral exhortations, directing the people to hear the voice 
of God. 

Like the Dinkas, they do not pray to God, but attempt to appease him with sacrifices of chickens. These sacrifices 
are rather one-sided, as the procedure is to kill 20 chickens, cook and eat 19, and throw out the twentieth for Umvili. 

Golos and Dinkas both associate the ideas of reverence and divinity with the sky, and of malignity and punishment 
with the bowels of the earth ; pointing upwards to their gods and downwards to their devils. This association is, I 

* Verj- plentiful in east, and along l)anks of .Tur and Bain- El (Jhazal llivers. 
t Vide also pp. 197, &c. 

Bahr El Ghazal. 


believe, universal, and has probably its origin in Sun worship. The natural human instinct for religion is probably 
as deeply rooted in the Bahr EI Ghazal as elaewhere, and manifests itself perhaps in the readiness with which these 
tribes embrace Islam, when they learn about it in Sudanese regiments or as servants to Moslem masters. 

They would seem to offer a hopeful and legitimate field for judicious missionary work,* as they are far from being 
the savages, destitute of ideas and beliefs, that they appear on a superficial view. 



12. A Short Dinka and Bongo Vocabulary. ■\' 

Bongo. English. Dinka. 




Meat (flesh) 







Kyap or Tia. 
































Tono Wong. 


Miuk yum. 














Munkinashiel (a). 

Budu tukba. 


•< Bium. 


Kito tora. 

I. Bum. 












Tup or Amul. 





Sheikh (headman) 










Dura (bread) 





Tubba terch. 













Station (post) 


Indebba kor. 


























Give me 


Wadi gimma. 







Go, go on 



I want 




Ual Totj. 





















Is there ? 
















For brief description of Dar Fertit, now partly in the Bahr EI Ghazal and partly m French temtory, mde p. 256. 
Very little is known about it definitely. 
* Tlie Koman Catliolic Missionaries who visited the Golos and Bongos in the spring of 1904, and who now have statioua in their 
wuntry, west of Wau, express themselves as well satisfied with the outlook from their point of view. 
+ Compiled from information furnished by Captain S. L. Cummins (R.A.M.C.) and Mr. K. Turstig. 


Bahr El Ghazal. 


13. Itinerary of the Baiiu El Ghazal Rivek. 

TAihi No—Me.hra El Rd: 





a; o 




W -M 





Lake No 

Balir El Ghazal 


Proceeding up-stream westwards from the junction of the Bahr El Jebel and the White Nile, 
Lake No is immediately entered. Lake No is known to the Arabs as the " Moghren el- 
Buhur," or the "Meeting of the Rivers." It is situated in north latitude 9° 29'. It is a 
.shallow of water covering a good many square miles of area, and surrounded on all 
sides by reedy marsh. It is jjrobably a portion of the great Uke which once covered this 
country. Through its eastern end the Bahi- El Jebel passes, and the Bahr El Ghazal enters 
it at its western extremitj-. Lake No acts as a reservoir for the wateraof the sluggish streams 
which drain the extensive plateaux forming the watershed between the Congo and the Nile. 
These streams find iheir rise in an area lying between latitude b" and 8° north, and longitude 
24' and 30^ east. The channel by which their united waters are delivered to the Nile is the 
Bahr El Ghazal, and from it the province through which it passes receives its name. Its 
cljief affluents are the Rohl, the Jau, and the Tonj on the right, and the Bahr El Arab, the 
Balir El Homr, and thejur on the left. The water thus brought down fills up the depression 
known as liake No, over which area the water of the Bahr El Jebel spreads. The conse- 
quence is that this lake is an expanse of water through which little or no current passes, 
but whose levels rise and fall with that of the Nile. The flooded area changes according to 
the season of the year. It forms an imjiortaut reservoir for the White Nile. The actual 
extent of Lake No is difficult to ascertain. It has been variously estimated at from 20 to 
40 square miles. These differences are probably due to the fact that the area was estinjattd 
at different periods of the year. During maximum flood the extent cannot he much less 
than the larger estimate, but at the period of low supply the area is much reduced, and in 
1900 and 19(11 could liardly have exceeded 8 square miles. In the early months of these 
years the surface had shrunk to very small dimensions, and more resembled a large river 
than a lake. The width, during the period of low Nile, is extremely variable. Thus in 
April, 1901, in the first mile from the White Nile, the o])eu water surface was at times under 
200 yards, and then suddenly widened out to, perhaps, 2 miles ; a litt'e further on it again 
contracted, and for 4 or 5 miles more varied from 300 to 600 yards. The depth, at that time, 
was nowhere more than 7 feet, and, in places, only 4 feet. No current at all was visible 
through any portion of the lake. Beyond the open water stretched a broad belt of flooded 
reeds. This belt was chiefly composed of " Um Suf," with clumps of ambach. The open 
water itself was full of reedy islands. Lake No abounds with hippopotami and waterfowl. 
The former cause a good deal of trouble to the Nner population, as they are unusually 
savage in this locality, and are .said to make a practice of attacking any canoe or raft crossing 
the lake. The bank to the north of the eastern end swarms with lion and antelojie of every 
description (January, 19ii3). 
After pa.ssing the entrance to the Bahr El Jebel, keep tn the northern channel. Open water 
right and a few low bushes ; ant-heaps (termites), and dry ground left. Some wood. Landing 
po.s.sible. At 6 miles fiom the White Nile a continuous line of Nuer villages runs parallel 
to the left bank of the channel for several miles, and marks the ridge beyond which tlie 
swamping does not extend. Their avei-age distance is some 2 miles from the river. The 
villages appear to be thickly populated, and the inhabitants possess large herds of cattle, 
sheep, and goats ; they now barter their fowls, &c., with readiness. 
From 7 miles above the White Nile — Bahr El Jebel junction (whilst still within I^ake No) and 
westwards the channel is, in dry weather, reduced to 80 or 90 yards wide. In flood-time the 
line of the channel is not visible. This channel is by some termed the Khor El Deleb, in 
continuation of a khor of that name which flows into it at the western end of Lake No ; but 
as the Bahr El (ihazal is obviously the main stream, the latter name has been applied to it 
here from the Bahr El Jebel junction westwards. About 10 miles west of the Bahr El 
Jebel mouth take southern channel, which comes in west-south- west, leave northern chamiel, 
as it closes up and comes to a dead end 5 miles on. Large village, Nuer tribe, 2 miles away 
left. Scrub on hoiizon left. Reeds, sudd, &c., both sides, and all part of Lake No. 
The true Bahr El Ghazal comes in close here left. Narrow mouth, 40 yards ; 8 feet deej) in 
March. Sudd seen floating down stream, li miles an hour. Leave broad open channel, 
which bifurcates 2 miles farther on, and becomes the Deleb and Sif norina backwaters, ending 
18 miles up. Take northern channel, which is now the Bahr El (jhazal. The Khor Deleb, 
which enters the river from the south at the western point of the lake, is a wide expanse of 

Z 2 


Bahr El Ghazal. 






«> d 







River Rohl or Khor 

Mayyet Eluri 

Deleb palm 


Mayyeh Nur 




10 31 


channel 160 to 200 yards in breadth. It forms the outlet for the waters of the River Rohl, 
coming from the south. In summer no current at all is apparent. The Ghazal River at this 
point, with a width of some 40 yards, is in appearance a more insignificant stieara than the 
other. Its depth, however, is greater, averaging 13 feet, as against 6 or 7 feet in the Deleb. 
The Khoi- Deleb was explored by Major Peake for some 18 miles above this junction. At 
this point it was blocked by sudd and reeds, with trees on both banks, so that further 

f)rogresa was impossible. It had, however, a decided .stream coming through the reeds, which 
eft the Ghazal 33 miles higher up. Tlie transparency of the waters differs in the two 
chainiels ; that of the Khor Deleb being opaque and of a whitey-grey colour, while that of 
the liahr El Ghazal is clear and limpid, like that of the White Nile itself. Between the two 
rivei-s, which run parallel for some distance, is an expanse of low marsh, a foot above low- 
water level. This whole area must resemble a large lake when the rivers are in flood, and 
the aspect of the country is desolate and monotonous to an extreme degree. It is absolutely 
treeless ; the atmosphere is damp and warm even in the winter months, and the mosquitoes 
are of a jjeculiarly venomous variety. 

Proceeding up the Bahr El Gliazal, for a long way there is little change in the landscape. The 
low banks continue, and the stream winds about through the marshes with a veiy feeble 
velocity. At 18 miles a large khor joins the Bahr El Ghazal on the left bank. This is known 
as the Mayyet E16ri, and appears to come from a northwesterly direction. It is this khor 
which has been supposed to be the junction between the Bahr El Ghazal and the L0II6. 
From the slope of the country, however, it would seem that water flows fron) the higher 
land into the Bahr El (Jhazal. It is possible that in flood there may be a spill in the opposite 
direction. This khor, although 200 yards in width, is very shallow. At 21 miles the Khor 
Deleb approaches to within 1,2C0 yards of the Bahr El Ghazal. A solitary deleb palm (men- 
tioned by Junker) forms a fine landmark on the right bank. The Khor Deleb deiives its 
name from this jtalm. The left bank of the river beyond the fringe of swamp is an extensive 
grass plain covered with ant-hills. These are so close together that they somewhat resemble 
a gigantic grave-yard. The Nuer villages are now a long way from the bank. As the river 
is ascended the country becomes more and more hopeless-looking. Flat grass plains extend 
to the horizon, and a wide band of swamp borders either side of the waterway. The channel 
narrows, and in places is not more than 2!} yards. The depth is fiom 12 to 16 feet, and the 
turns and bends, though not as sharp as on the Bahr El Zeraf, are endless. The difference 
between the Bahr El Zeraf and the Bahr El Ghazal is very striking. The water of the 
former during the period of low supply is considerably below its banks ; in the latter it is 
almost level with them. The rise of the former, even in ordinary flood, is not less than G to 
6^ feet. That of the Bahr El Ghai;;il, on the contrary, must be very small. It is difficult to 
imagine that even in flood the water can rise more than 3, or at most, 4 feet over its lowest 
level. Even with such a rise, the area of the country under water would be enormous, 
and the flooding would extend for a very long distance. A few miles further up the depth 
of water increases to 19 feet, and in places to 25 feet. For the first time forest appears in 
the distance on the left, but several thousand yards away from the river. The right bank is 
now covered with low and scrub beyond the flooded line. The country bordering the 
Bahr El Ghazal does not have the appearance of being under water for any length of time, 
even in flood. In this respect, again, it diffeis from that traversed by the Bahr El Zeraf. It 
must, however, be saturated and resemble a sponge in the rainy season. There cannot be 
more than a very shallow film of water over these plains, (jr the bush and scnib would not 
flourish as it does ; neither would ant-hills be found in such quantities. The general slope 
of the country is so low that the water must di ain ofiF extremely slowly. 

At mile 31 the width is 60 yards, and the reed-belt gets narrower ; a very large " mayyeh," or 
khor, comes in on the left bank here. This is known as the Mayyeh Nur, or the Mayyeh 
Mahmud Effendi. Its width near the junction is from 150 to 200 yards, and its general 
direction appears to be west. It is very shallow. This mayyeh is said to receive the waters 
of the Keilak River (Mayyeh b'ta KoniHudari (?)), a stream about which little is known, but 
which is supposed to rise in the hills of Dar Nuba. There is a wooding-statiou on light 
bank opjwsite the Nur. Up-stream of this junction the Bahr El Ghazal takes a moi-e 
Eoutlierly direction. The two streams run for some miles parallel to one another, from COO to 
7(KJ yards apait. The country between the two is, perhaps, 2 feet over the water. At 
mile 35, the first papyrus seen since leaving the White Nile is met with. From this point on, 
for many miles, a band of this reed fringes both edges of the water. It is never so high as 
on the Bahr El Jebel, nor does it grow here in such dense luxuriance as on that stream. The 
water surface is very narrow, often not more than 20 yards, but the depth is considerable 
averaging from 15 to 19 feet. The reed-birds here are an extraordinary sight. They are to 

Bohr El Ghaml. 




Camping ground 

Wood-station . . . 

Large tree 

Gessi's place 

Jau River or Mayyeh 
Ahmed Arabi 

Wood-station ... 








be seen in myriads and resemble a flight of locusts. The SerAt fly is very bad on the Bahr 
El Ghazal. The ant-hills certainly form a distinctive feature of the Ghazal scenery. 
Nowhere else are they so large or so numerous. They are generally from 20 to 50 yardp 
apart. At mile 49 good halting or camping ground, fairly dry ; bushes and trees njrht. 
Large clump of big trees \ mile away south. This clump is close to tlie stream running into 
Mayyeh Deleb. From liere on, cliannel very narrow ; papyrus both sides ; liable to be 
blocked with sudd at any time ; large islands of sudd are met, often taking up whole width 
of stream up to the junction with the Bahr El Arab, wliere river is much wider again. 
Mayyeh right : river bends sharply, cliannel only width of steamer, 17 feet ; current very 
fast ; numbers of owls and Baloeniceps Rex seen about, also hippopotami ; some wood left, 
500 yards afvay. Large trees left, close to water, good for fuel ; village on horizon right, 
and two Dom palms ; channel opens up. At mile 53 wooding-station left. The papyrus belt 
gets wider as the river is ascended, and at 57 miles the forest on the left bank comes down 
close to the water's edge and the river skirts it for some 2 miles. The trees are large, but 
the belt is only a few lumdred yards wide. 
The scenery here is beautiful, as the ground is high and glades of tine trees are scattered about 
the grassy plain. Many elephants are to be seen. On the right bank is a wide marsh 
through which the river channel has evidently wandered at times. This is the beginning of 
the reach in whicli the Bahr El Ghazal is occasionally closed by sudd. At 61 miles, in 1880, 
Marno found his first block here, and in November, 1898, and Apiil, 1899, it was blocked. 
Large solitary tree right bank. The channel is very narrow, deep, and winding. At present 
it runs under the high bank, but it is clear that it could easily be blocked at one of the many 
bends, and in such a case it would doubtless form a series of lagoons and mayyehs in the 
adjacent papyius marsh. After leaving the left bank forest for a time the river at mile 02 
again returns to it. The depth of the channel suddenly decreases to 5 feet, but soon deepens 
again to 10 and 13 feet. This shoal is doubtless caused by decomposed sudd which lias sunk 
to the bottom. Such a bar is one of the frequent causes of a block. The sudd raises the 
bed level, and other masses floating down ground upon the obstruction and the channel is 
speedily closed. The Bahr El Ghazal has evidently changed its course here very recentlj'. 
It is now much closer to the left bank than it was in 1899. The change has probably been 
caused by a block of sudd. It was near here, i.e., at mile 63, that Gessi Pasha had such a 
disastrous experience in January, 1880. His steamers, on descending this river, were 
imprisoned in the sudd for some C weeks, and he lost over 100 men. Had it not been for 
the opportune arrival of Marno in the " Bordein " none of the party could have escaped. 
They were on the verge of starvation and it was impossible to obtain fuel for the steamers, 
being cut off' from the shore by an impassable swaMip. These 6 or 7 miles of the Bahr El 
Ghazal must always be more or less dangerous, as regards possible closure by sudd, at certain 
seasons of the year. In 1900 and 1901 the channel was open, but in the spring of 1899 it 
was closed not far up-stream of this point. The channel is extremely contracted, having a 
width of only 12 yards and a depth of 13 feet. Tlie course is so tortuous that it Is difficult 
to follow all the turns. The whole of this area must, in the rainy seasons, be a reedy lake. 
At mile 64 the river emerges from this dreadful marsh and the width increases to 30 yards. 
The banks average 2j feet above water level. The country on either side is generally higher. 
On the right, bush is dotted about, and the ant-hills reappear to the left in a large grassy 
plain. At mile 65 the river widens into a lagoon, some 400 yards broad, and a mile in length. 
At the up-stream end of this lagoon a large mayyeh is said by the Arabs to form the outlet 
of the Jau River, which is another of the tributary streams that feed the Bahr El Ghazal 
from the south. This channel, which is known as the Mayyeh Ahmed Arabi, runs more or 
less parallel to the Bahr El Ghazal for some 40 miles, taking otf it at Lake Anibadi, or 
88 miles from the point where the Ghazal and the Deleb join. It is often at a considerable 
distance from the main stream, but glimpses are to be seen of it at times. A fine tamarind- 
tree close to the edge of the mayyeh assists recognition of this spot. In 1F99 the Bahr El 
Ghazal was blocked by sudd near this junction. The right bank continues to be fairly high, 
but the left is low and must be flooded for a long distance. The stream is now more rapid. 
The air in the mornings here is cool and damp, but a strong marshy smell prevails. At mile 
74 wood-station left bank. Elephants, and the Euphorbia first, appear. This shrub is fairly 
plentiful from this point up-stream. For several miles there is little change in the conditions, 
but at mile 79 trees are visible on the right bank, about 1,500 yards from the livi-r. The 
intermediate country is flooded. A few Dinka are occasionally met with, but no villages. 
The absence of human habitations on this river is very striking. Since tlie Nuer villages 
were left behind at mile 43, not a sign of life has been visible. A small but deep khor joins 
the river on the lefc bank here. 


Kahr El Ghazal. 





» d 



^ » 






FaW Bahr El Arab 



Forest ... 
Bahr £1 Arab . 

Lake Ambadi 




From here for the next 20 miles good wood left. At mile 90 a large and important khor comes 
in, also on the left bank. This channel, which was asserted by the boatmen to be the Bahr 
El Arab, and which was ascended under this supposition, flows from a uortli- westerly direc- 
tion and evidently brings water from a long distance. Later experience has proved that the 
Biihr El Arab is several miles further up-stream, but this klior must, nevertheless, bring 
down a large volume of water during the flood. It is (|uite possible that it forms a second 
mouth of the Bahr El Arab. It joins the Bahr El Ghazal through two small hikes or lagoons, 
the largest being about 1,000 yards long by 8^0 yards wide, with an island in the centre. 
These lakes are swarming with hip])opotami. The width of this khor is much greater that 
than that of the Ghazal, biing from 100 to 120 yanls. It has a perceptible though feeble 
current even iii April, but its depth is shallow, averaging from 4 to 5 feet. It wiis ascended 
for some 8 miles above the junction, when shoal-water jirevented further progress. Its 
general direction is north-west, but at the furthest point reached it turns sharply to the 
north, and its course can be traced for a long distance, winding through the comitry. Even 
here it* width is 100 yards, with wide-stretching mud-flats on either side. It runs between 
flat plains covered with low griiss and averaging 2j feet over the water at the liver's edge. 
It diflei-s ren"arkably from the Ghazal in its characteristics, jjarticularly in the absence of the 
reed frinjje which distinguishes the main river. Its rise must be small, as the banks show 
no trace of flooding. 

From o miles above the junction a succession of Dinka villages line both banks. Some of 
these are large and a;)])ear to be thickly peopled. The i>rincipal village is called Ijau. This 
consists of a large collection of scattered huts, groupeil together, and covering a large area. 
It would ho interesting to exj)lore this khor during high water and ascertain whether it really 
is one of the outlets of the Arab River. 

To return to the Bahr El Ghazal. Fi'om the point where this khor joins it, the general course 
is due west and fairly straight with occasional long curves. It is bordered liy a narrow stri]) 
of papyrus on either bank, and travetses a country i f flat gras.s\' plains. This river is placid 
and sluggish throughout its entire length, and can never approach anything like a torrent, 
even when in floo I. It meanders along, slowly and gradually sucking away the moisture of 
the vast, water-logged flats through which it psisses. Its width averages from 00 to 70 yards, 
and its mean depth i.s 10 feet. 

At mile 100 trees and bush are found on both sides arrd the banks are clear of reeds and 
continue until mile 103, where the Bahr El Arab joins the frhazal. This forest is known ;is 
the "Gha^'a b'ta el Ai'ab," and is one of the few wooding-stations to be found on the river. 
The ti-ees upon both banks are different from those found elsewher-e. There are a few 
mimosas, but the bulk are very thorrry trees with bright greerr leaves. The belt oi wood is 
about half a mile in width, back from the river. Behirrd it are open spaces of grass, through 
which broad and shallow lagoons wirrd. In this plain are many large clumps of trees. 
Except irr the depreesions, the country here is certainly not flooded, even in the rainy seasorr. 
The marks on the banks show that the niaximum rise of the river is not more tlian 3 feet. 
The Bahr El Ai'ab is a broad well-defined channel, from 40 to 100 yards in width, and 
confined bet«eeir well-marked, but swampj', banks. Its direction, at the junction, is due 
irorth, but alxmt 3 miles further u]) it tur-ns more to the west ami rurrs a[)parently through 
forest. Next to rrothing is kno«n of this river'. Felkin crossed it in December-, 1879, and 
foutrd it, 300 nriles from its nroulh, 120 yards wide, with banks IT) feet above low water. He 
noted that in the lainy sea.son it flooded the surroirnding coirntry. It is impossible to 
investigate this river-, as, at sonre 1,300 yards above the junction, it is closed by sudd and 
reeds. It has no current at the nrouth, and its depth is fi-oiu 10 to 11 feet at low water. 
The water- of the Bahr El Arab is singularly clear and ft ee fronr .sediment. Reports received 
in the sprirrg of 1901 show that this river is still blocked by sudd. Immediately up 
of the Bahr El Aral) junction the I^ke Kit, or Ambadi, begins. The Bahr El Ghazal 
traverses lliis lake, but fr-om this point its nomenclatur-e changes, and the river is known as 
the " Kit,' or " Kelt," by the natives, and as such is entered on many maps. At mile 105, 
Ijake Ambadi is drvided into two ])Hr-ts by a large grassy islarrd, about a mile in length, the 
right diannel berrrg 400 yards, and the left 150 yards wide. Half-way up tie right channel, 
the lai'ge Mayyeir Ahrrred Arabi, previously alluded to, rejoirrs the Bahr El Ghazal. It has 
a width of .500 to 600 yards here. The swam])s surrounding this lake are of c in.siderable 
br-iadth, especially on the left side. They are very low atjd reedy, and a very small rise irr 
the water levels must increase the flooded area enormously. It is impossible to calculate 
the width of the swami>s oir the left bank. They appear to extend for rjiany miles fronr the 
water's edge. Lake Ambadi has an average depth of 10 feet, in the dee))est parts of the 
channel, but shoals rapidly on either side. It is evidently tlie great reservoir of the Bahr 

Bahr El Gliazal. 









» c 

• Description. 

t— t 


Kit River 


Mouth of Jnr Siver 





El Ghazal, receiving the waters of the swamps and the soutliern rivers, and slowly dis- 
charging them by means of the narrow but deep channel of tlie Gliazal itself. At low 
water it has a lengtli of about 10 miles by an average breadth of 1 mile ; in fl(od-time the 
area must be very much greater. It is a great nursery for certain of the sudd gra.sses, but 
chiefly those of the "swimming" variety. The Agolla, L'lricularia, Aldrovandio, Olel/ia,and 
many other kinds aie found upon its waters. The Pistia is conspicuous liy its absence. 
Among the reeds in the swamps a certain amount of Vossia procera and Saecharam 
spontatievm is met with, but not in such proportion as on the Bahr El Jebel. The pajiyrus 
does not exist on this lake, nor does the ambacli. Except between miles .35 and 82, the 
former is not found at all on the Bahr El Ghazal, and it only grows in real lu.\uiianee 
between miles 05 and 77. After Lake No is passed, ambach is not found in the Bahr El 
Ghazal. The absence of pa])yrus and " um sflf " is probably the reason why the sudd in this 
river is .so much less tenacious and is so much lighter in consistency than than that of the 
Bahr El Jebel. [Col. Peake, however, S])eak8 of the sudil here as being of a "very tough 
and felt-like consistency."] Lake Ainbadi is the home of large numbers of the rare 
Baloeniceps Rex. The evaporation upon the lake must be very great during the hottest 
months. With two large and shallow sheets of water like Lakes Ambadi and No, the 
amount of water discharged by the Bahr El Ghazal must be largely reduced before it 
reaches the White Nile. 
At mile 114 the lake stops and the river recommences. This is the Kit, properly so called. Its 
width here is from 100 to 120 yards and its depth 10 to 11 feet. The current is .so feeble as 
to be almost imperceptible. The Bahr El Homr comes in near this point. On the 1st October, 
1900, Captain Sanders found the Bahr El Homr navigable for 5 miles ; after which it was 
blocked by sudd. Its width is 80 yards and depth, 9 feet ; direction N.N.W. Col. Peake 
places its junction 9 miles further down stream. It appears to have no discharge in March 
and April, and the water shoals so that it is impossible to explore it. For the next 3 miles 
the Kit has a mean width of 180 yards. The water surface suddenly naiTows to a width of 
20 yards, the remainder of the channel being filled by sudd. In this block are several reedy 
islands. The country is now a dead Hat in every direction. Even on these African rivers it 
is rare to see an ex| anse giving a greater impression of flatness than does this. On all sides 
marshes extend, a])parently to the horizon. It is quite imjjossible to ariive at an idea of 
their area. In these marshes are many large lagoons. A little farther up-stream, the 
channel widens again from 35 to 40 yards, with a depth varying from 12 to 15 feet. Occasion- 
ally it shoals to G feet, or less, piobalily owing to sunken sudd upon the bed. Navigation at 
all seasons must be very difficult, as the river winds and twists through the marshes. Tliere 
are no tall reeds here ; nothing but floating plants, and the wa'er is choked with nnsses of 
decayed weed. It is a hopeless morass. During stw-my weatliei', this place is one of 
those where blocks are often foimed. There are no signs of life anywhere, with the excep- 
tion of the Baloeniceps Rex, which are numerous. These horrible marshes continue for 
another 6 or 8 miles. Sudd islands separate the channel, in places, and the width varies 
greatly. At one point of this reach, viz., at mile 120, the main channel of the Kit was (juite 
closed in March, 190(1. The entire river was forced through a small opening, 10 or 12 yards 
wide, through which a strong stream was rushing, and in one place it was actually barred 
for 50 yards. The total length of the block was about 500 yards. A more loathsome- 
looking swamp it is difficult to imagine. The sudd in this river is very diflerent from that 
of the Bahr El .lebel. It is impossible to walk on its surface, wliioh resembles slime rather 
than sudd, but which is bound into a mass by vegetiible matter. The chief ingredients 
iippear to be the long trailing, swiiumiug ])lants, descrrbed as found on I<ake Ambadi. It is 
not difficult to force a way through it, but the stuff, when removed, does not float as does 
that on the .lebel, but sinks and decays. Three miles on, the two groups of trees called 
Matruk-el-Waliur ("the landing-p'ace of steamer.s," vide Junker) are passed on the left, 
about 2 miles from the main stream. A channel, at present blocked by sudd, leads to the 
landing-place. Matruk-el-Wabur is an island of dry land in a Sea of swamp. When 
Col. Peake visited it in 1898 the remains of the former French occupation were visible. The 
Egyptian flag was hoisted here on the 28th September, 1898. Ui)-stream of this point, for 
.mother 5 miles, the Kit winds about ; the width of the channel increases, averaging from 
180 to 200 yards ; its surface is covered by myriads of water fowl, the whistling duck being 
especially numerous ; a few IJinka are to be seen, who have come down to the river for the 
purpose of fishing anil hunting the hippopotamus. At mile 128 the channel bifurcates. The 
Kit itself runs due south, in the direction of Meshra-el-Rek. The other branch has a westerly 
direction, and receives the water of the Jur River, -(vhich, again, forms the outlet for the 
Sueh and Wau Rivers. The latitude of this junction, as observed in April, 1900, was 


Bahr El GMzal. 











Meslim El lU-k 



8° 44' 50" north. The water at the time was so shallow that it was impossible for the 
steamer to ascend the channel, the width of which was from 600 to 700 yards, with a depth 
of 3 feet. The water coming down this stream was of a dark amber colour, and was 
evidently the drainage of the mai-shes. A slight current was visible. The general direction 
of the Kit is south or south-west. Captaiu Sanders, who visited this place in September, 
1900, found the Kit completely blocked by sudd ; but Lieutenant Fell, R.N., ascended it in 
November of the same year, and reports that the water near the Meshra was " foul, 
stagnant, and very shallow." In March, 1900, the sudd was very light, mostly floating, and 
easily removed. Above this junction, the expanse of water into which the Jur discharges 
itself has a width of 400 yards, a depth of 10 feet, and a fair velocity, even in the month 
of March. The mai-shes here are bewildering in their extent. 

After 3 years' experience, it is found to be impossible for a steamer to reach the mouth of the 
Jur River, and, therefore, of course, Meshra-el-Rek, from the middle of April till the middle 
of July. In May a steamer cannot get within 15, and in June within Sft, miles of the Jur 
mouth. Even wheu free of sudd, the Jur is unnavigable, owing to its shallowness, from the 
first week of December to the end of July. After strenuous exertions during 2 years on 
the part of Lieutenant Fell and others, the Jur has hiis now been cleared of sudd and a 
channel made for steamers up to Wau, a distance of 160 miles. This enables stores. Sec, to 
reach headquarters by water during 4 months of the year (August to November, inclusive). 
The sudd is, however, quick-growing and grows from the bottom. Sudd-cutting parties 
have, therefore, to be annunlly employed during the low river time to clear a channel for the 
flood-time. The average difference between high and low Jur is as much as 15 feet ; in 
flood-time the current is swift and the river deep, whiLst the reed beds on either side make 
towing impossible. Luckily a north wind helps boats along up-stream. 

(Junker made the total distance by river from Luke No to here, after 1,781 angular measure- 
ments, to be about 135 miles ; but it is difficult to make out his exact point of starting.) 

Meshra-el-Rek lies on a small island in a backwater — the river itself apparently starting in 
marsh land, and not yet having been defined. Island about a mile long and varies from 
200 to 400 yards in breadth. On either side of the river marshes extend for 2 or 3 miles. 
Mosquitoes swarm, and, owii g to the stagnant condition of the river, the water supply is 
very indifferent during the dry season. No natives live witliiu about 7 or 8 miles. The 
station consists of straw tukls —the hospital standing on the one bit of high ground. Great 
difficulty in building huts, as there is no wood suitable within several miles ; on the Avhole a 
mott unhealthy place. High ground lies quite 5 miles beyond the marali. The French had 
a fort near our present post in an even worse position. 



2 A 





Section I. — Kordofan. 

1. General Deserijition. 

The country between the Nile and the eastern frontier of Darfur consists of vast plains broken in places by clusters 
of hills, which rarely exceed 600 feet in height above the plain. In the north, these plains are intersected by wadis 
which run down from the hills and gradually lose themselves in the sand. The country is thinly covered with low scrub, 
which becomes denser in the wadis. Towards the south the khors gradually become less and less, until about lat. 14° 30' 
north they cease. Here the real bush country commences, and the surface of the ground becomes more undulating. 
There is no visible watershed, the rain sinking in where it falls. 

The northern plains, occupied by camel-owning tribes, consist chiefly of reddish sand, which, if the rains are good, 
supports plenty of coarse grass and crops of dukhn. Should they fail, even the grass in the wadis does not afEord grazing, 
and the wells give out (1902-03). 

In the undulating country between El Obeid and the river the grey gum acacia (hashab) is the prevailing tree. 
The soil here contains more clay than further north. Between Id El Ud and Zereiga on the east, and Hashaba and Jebel 
Kon on the west, is a waterless district called El Agaba, in which grows little but marakh bush and coarse grass. 

Between El Agaba and the river the ground falls, at first abruptly, and then very gently, to the river. The sandy 
soil gradually disappears, and along the bank is replaced by a strip of black soil, in places, 12 miles wide. This soil 
is rich and is generally overgrown with thick bush. On the river bank, and as far inland as the floods at high Nile 
reach, large red sunt trees are found. At high Nile these often stand in 3 or 4 feet of water. During the rains this 
soil becomes a swamp, impassable for camels in most places, the khors fill with water, and the roads near the river 
go out of use. As soon as the rains stop and the river falls, this soil dries up and cracks, and until the paths have 
been used for some time the going is very bad. 

In Dar Hamid, a large district north-west of Bara, there is a series of basins running from north to south, divided Car Hamid. 
by steep ridges of red sand. At the bottom of each basin, locally called a " khor," the soil is white, sandy earth, 
containing much lime. Water is here found at a depth of from 4 to 10 feet. These khors were formerly all cultivated 
by Danagla, who used shadufs or saglias. The whole district, which extends from Ashaf in the south to Shershar in 
the north, is known as El Kheiran. Date, dom, and deleib palms, as well as limes grow, and in a few places gardens 
with onions, shatta (red pepper), rigl, etc., have been made. 

Though the change is very gradual, south of lat. 13° 15' the plains become more level. They are broken by deep Southern 
khors with steep banks, and are covered with thick bush or tall trees up to the foot of the Nuba hills. Further portion, 
south the bush becomes larger, until huge forest trees are met with. On the edge of the khors there are immense 
creepers and tangled undergrowth. The soil appears fertile, but is only cultivated near the hills. The rest of the country 
is covered with jungle, and becomes a swamp in the rains, but afterwards quickly dries up. The timber found is of 
little value, being chiefly acacia. Game is abundant. Elephant, giraffe, and antelope abound ; monkeys and birds 
are found in great numbers in the woods. Snakes are also said to be common. 

Dar Nuba is the only part of Kordofan where the scenery can be said to be pretty, and some of the views Dar Nuba, 
of the hills looking over masses of forest are really beautiful, whereas most of the rest of the country is wearisome 
from its sameness. The hills in the north are nearly bare of vegetation. On all the Nuba hills thorny bushes grow 
between the rocks, except on a few of the more isolated hills, whose summits consist of piled masses of rock devoid of 
vegetation. They are terraced for cultivation, by the people, to a height of 300 or 400 feet from their base. 

The most important groups of hills are, in the north, Jebel Haraza and Jebel Kaja Katul, both inhabited by Nuba Hills. 

2 A 2 



Arabs, and Jebel Kaja Sorrug in the west. In the south, Jebel Daier, Jebel Tagale, Jebel Kadero, Jebol Gedir, Jebel 

Mono, Jebel Talodi, Jebel Kari, Jebsl Eliri-liri, and Jebel El Joghub, are all inhabited by Nubas. 

D*r Haiuar. Par Hamar, the country west of Dar Hamid, and extending up to the Darfur frontier, consists of gently undulating 

steppes covered with bush. In places there are a few low rocky hills, and the horizon is broken by huge tebeldi trees. 

As there are few wells, almost the whole population depends on the water that is stored in these trees during the rains. 

Throughout the province, from November until June, the plains have a dried-up appearance, only broken by the few 

trees, such as the hashab and marakh, that remain green throughout the year, and in the southern districts by the trees 

in the khors, which can be traced as bands of dark green, winding through the black hills and dull brown plains. 

Drminage The drainage system of Kordofan is complicated. It is doubtful if any rain that falls there ever reaches the Nile, 

•jatem. unless it does so underground. In the north, the hard sand forms wide shallow wadis, which, after wandering for a 

greater or lesser distance, either lose themselves by spreading over a bare surface, or by striking an outcrop of rock form 

a " sink," which enables shallow wells to be dug, and gives an excellent supply of water. In the south, the softer soil 

and more abundant rainfall, together with, in places, steeper gradients, cause the shallow wadis of the north to be 


replaced by narrow khors with steep sides. But the water eventually disappears from the surface in the same way 
as in the northern districts. For example, the wadi from Abu Tabr and those north of Jebel Derish end at Shageig, 
where a plentiful supply of water is to be found all the year round. Jebel Kajmar also is the natural dam to Wadi El 
Sigai, which flows from the south. Habisa is another similar place. In the south, the Khor Abu Habl loses itself west 
of Gedid, and further west. El Sinut, a large lake in the rains, and a swamp afterwards, is believed to have no outlet. 
Lakes. The chief lakes are Abu Serai, Sherkeila, El Rahad, and El Birka. In January, 1900, all were dry, but in 1901, 

El Rahad lasted for the whole year, though El Birka was dry by the end of December. Abu Serai always dries up 
a few weeks after the rains cease. Sherkeila is said generally to dry up, but was full in December, 1900, and was 
expected to last until the next rains. Rahad was also full. 

These lakes are said to be all connected with the Khor Abu Habl, but native information points to El Rahad being 
the end of Khor Khashgil, only Sherkeila and Abu Serai joining the Khor Abu Habl. As a proof of this, in 1902, after 
the rains, Sherkeila was full and El Rahad nearly empty. When dry, wells are dug in the bottom of the lakes. 

Kordofan. 175 

In Western Kordofan there is a series of swamps — Abu Zabbat, El Sinut, El Seneita, Toto, Kutna, and Burdia — but 
though in the rains they are generally full of water, they dry up almost at once, and can hardly be dignified with 
the name of lakes. The Baggara Arabs, who frequent these swamps, dig wells in the middle of them as they dry up 
and build up the mouths with wood and earth to a height of 4 or 5 feet, to prevent the mud and grass washing in 
during the rains. In Southern Kordofan there are many such tracts of land under water during the rains ; and 
Butler Bey (in March, 1902) found, about 50 miles north-west of Jebel Eliri, a lake called El Abiad, which 
although said never to dry up, was dry in January, 1903. It was (in March, 1902) about 6 miles by 4 miles, and 
contained excellent fish. As far as could be ascertained it had no outlet. The only really permanent lake, as far 
as is known, is Lake Keilak in the Dar Homr district, which is about 4| miles by 2 miles. 

In many districts the difference of level is so slight that it is very difficult, except during or just after the rains, Wadis, &c. 
to detect which way the water flows. As soon as the country dries up the wind and sand rapidly obliterates all signs 
of running water, and many wadis can only be recognised by their more abundant vegetation. 

In the centre of the province, that is, south of the Helba-Bara road and parts of Dar Hamar and north of the 
Gedid-Um Ruaba-El Obeid road, there is no watershed, and hence no khors or wadis properly so called. This country 
is undulating, but the hills seldom have any general direction ; where they have, it is north and south, but the valleys 
are seldom of any length and never contain streams. The rain sinks in where it falls. However, just as in Dar Hamid, 
every basin, though without an outlet, is called a khor, so in this part of the country every depression is called a wadi, 
and takes its name from the adjacent village. 

The water supply, which is entirely dependent on the local rains, is derived from ( I ) wells ; (2) surface water in pools Water 
or fulas and the lakes ; (-3) tebeldi trees {Adansonia digitata), and melons. supply- 

The best watered portions of Kordofan, excluding the Nuba hills, are Dar Hamid, Bara, and El Eddaiya, where 
the wells can be worked with a shaduf, and there is enough water for irrigation, and the basins of El Obeid, Abu Haraz, 
and Sherkeila. 

Elsewhere water is always liable to give out, and towards the end of the hot weather whole villages are frequently 
obliged to migrate to more favoured places until the rains once more fill the fulas. 

North of 14° 13', except actually during the rains, when pools form in the khors, the only water obtainable is from Wells, 
wells or holes in the hills. The former are numerous, but are liable to become choked by drift sand or to fall in 
when a sudden rush of water comes down the khor. They vary greatly from year to year, being entirely dependent 
on the local rainfall over a limited area. There are a few places, such as Gabra, Habisa and El Safia, where the water 
is said never to give out. The wells in the desert country are seldom more than 50 feet, and often only 5 or 6 feet 
deep, being dug in the bed of a khor, often at its termination, as at Kagmar. 

On the Bara-El Dueim road some of the wells are, however, over 200 feet deep, and water is generally plentiful. 
Further south the wells become less deep, and give less water. In the valley of the Khor Abu Habl and in Dar El 
Ahamda the wells average 30 feet, but the amount of water they contain depends entirely on the local rains. 

The deep wells in Eastern Kordofan are of two kinds : those in hard soil or rock, and those in sandy soil. The 
former are generally 5 to 8 feet in diameter and unlined, and with care will last for years. The latter are seldom more 
than 3 or 4 feet in diameter and require constant attention. As they are dug, a lining called " lawai," has to be put 
in. This is made of grass rope in lengths of about 40 feet. Near the bottom the lining is made of the roots of trees, 
that of the " hashab " being considered the best for this purpose. This class of well requires constant repairing and 
cleaning, and seldom lasts more than two years, when the sand at the bottom " caves in," and a new well has to 
be dug. Hence, where many old wells are found it does not imply that more than one or two were open at the hame 
time. In these, as in all desert wells, a dilwa must be used for drawing water, as a bucket damages the sides. Men 
must not be allowed to go near the mouth of the well with boots on. In a few places stone-lined wells exist. 

In the Nuba hills the wells are usually big holes, down the sides of which the women climb to draw water ; the 
art of well-sinking is generally unknown. In some places, however, the wells are lined with trunks of trees. When 
watering cattle the men and women go down the well standing across it and pass kantushes up and down. This is 
a very quick way of drawing water, but, as a good deal is spilt, and as both men and women are naked and covered 
with oil and red clay, the effect on the water is unpleasant. When drawing water in this way the women protect their 
head-dress, which consists as a rule of a lump of clay on each tuft of hair, by putting half a gourd on their heads. 

In the Nuba mountains running streams are occasionally found, notably at Jebel Eliri, Jebel Tira El Akhdar, 
and Jebel Kindirma, but their water almost immediately disappears into the soil on reaching the plains. 
In other mountains water is found in large rock tanks often as much as 500 feet above the plain. 
In the greater portion of Dar Hamar there are no wells, and as soon as the surface water dries up, generally about 
the end of October, the natives are dependent on water-melons and water stored in tebeldi trees. 

" Fulas," or artificial ponds, exist near many villages. They are usually made by damming a khor, but the ground Fulas. 
is so porous that the water seldom lasts after October. The lakes have already been described. 













The tebeldi trees (locally termed " Homr "), which are naturally hollow, and are besides often artificially scooped 
out, when used for storing water have a hole cut in the trunk, generally just above a big branch, on which a man 
can stand when drawing water. The hole is about 18 inches square. Round the bottom of the trunk a small pool 
is formetl. This catches the water during a storm and it is then put into the tree by meaTis of leathern buckets (dilwas) 
or girbas. Some trees, however, in consequence of being open at the top and having branches so formed that they 
act as gutters, fill themselves ; these are called El Lagat, and are naturally very valuable. The trees vary in diameter 
outside from 10 to 25 feet, and the water-holding portion is often 20 feet high. The bark is frequently much cut 
about as it is used to make rope and nets. The largest trees are not used for water as the trunks are generally 
cracked. Water so stored remains sweet to the end of the hot weather, so that good trees are a valuable form 
of property, and are let or sold, either with or without the adjacent land. Near a town they are a source of many 
quarrels. On the main routes across Dar Hamar, i.e., from Obeid to Nahud, or Shidera to Nahud, the Hamar 
make a living by selling water to travellers. During the Dervish rule many of these trees were destroyed by raiding 
parties cutting holes at the bottom of the trunk. 

The melons, on which whole villages, including horses, cattle, etc., depend, are small, almost tasteless, and full of 
black seeds. The natives grow them on the same ground as the dukhn, or else separately. When ripe, they are gathered 
and stored in heaps for future use. They are also found wild all over Dar Hamar. The skins are saved and given to 
the goats when the grass dries up. These water melons are not the same as the ordinary well-known water melon. 

Dukhn or millet is the food of most of the Arabs. It is grown on the sandy ridges during the rains, and requires 
little water. It will not grow in the low ground as there is generally too much salt in the soil. It is also given to camels 
and horses, but is considered heating. It is easily grown. The ground is first cleared of grass. Before the rains, about 
May, holes are made with a crooked stick (mach-far) a few inches deep and 5 or 6 feet apart, and a few grains are 
dropped into each hole, which is then closed with the foot. As soon as the rains commence the grain sprouts, 
and the crop is gathered at the end of October or beginning of November. The heads of corn are piled 
to dry before threshing. When the young plant is a few inches high it is liable to attacks from a large millipede called 
surffa. The natives make no efforts to kill this, as they say it only eats at night. This is an error, but even when 
it is proved to the Arab that they feed by day he is too lazy to destroy it. Later on the dukhn is liable, like other 
crops, to attacks from locusts and voracious small birds. When required for food, it is ground between two stones, 
the lower one being fixed, the upper rubbed backwards and forwards. Mixed with water it is baked in flat wafers, 
called kisra, or boiled into asida. It is also made into a sweet beer called Merissa or Um Bilbil. The dukhn of 
Kordofan is famous for its good quality. 

Dura is grown south of El Obeid, in the valley of the Khor Abu Habl and Nuba hills. It requires much more 
water than dukhn. It is cooked in the same way, and is considered much better food, but does not make such 
strong merissa. As forage, it is supposed to be less heating than dukhn, and being larger, animals are obliged to 
masticate it more ; this is an advantage, especially in the case of camels. 

Simsim is grown in small quantities everywhere. The seed is crushed in primitive mills, made by hollowing 
out the stump of a sunt or haraz tree. The pestle has a long arm attached to it, and is turned round by a camel 
or a bullock. The oil is used for cooking and hair-dressing. The refuse is excellent food for animals out of condition. 

Tobacco is grown in small quantities in the Nuba hills. It is wetted and made into hard cakes and smoked in 
large pipes by the blacks. It has a singularly unpleasant flavour. 

Cotton is grown in many parts of the Province and must have been formerly extensively cultivated, as the old 
plants are to be seen in the vicinity of most ruined villages. It is woven on hand looms into damur (coarse cotton 
cloth) of an inferior quality. 

Salt is made in two ways. One method consists in mixing earth that contains salt with water, aUowing the sediment 
to settle, and then evaporating or boiling away the water. The other method, which is followed at El Ghar, and other 
places where there are salt-water wells, is simply to boil the water until it has all evaporated. It is generally of a 
dark colour and somewhat bitter. 

Iron is plentiful, but now seldom worked. Some is smelted at El Nahud and Um Semeina, and spear heads, hoes, 
and axei are made. The works at Jebel Haraza are not now used. The absence of fuel will always preclude its becoming 
an extensive industry. A clay full of iron is found some 60 miles to the north-west of El Obeid. 

Some old workings of gold and other minerals in the Tagale country have recently been explored, but the result 
has been unsatisfactory, and the gold appears to have been worked out. There may be other minerals in the 
country, but no details are known regarding them. 

The best gum comes from the grey acacia, called ha.sliab. This is found between the parallels of 13° and 14°, 
but is little worked west of El Obeid, on account of the cost of carriage to Khartoum. The chief places where it is 
collected are El Obeid, Taiara, Bint Joda, Gedid, Um Dam, and Nahud, whence it is either taken by camel straight 
to Khartoum or to the river at El Dueim or Goz Abu Guma, and there put into boats. The cultivation is sinq)le. 



Tn January strips of bark are torn off the trees, dead branches cut away, and, in well managed gardens, the grass is 
cut as protection from fire. This should always be done, as fires, both accidental and incendiary, are by no means 
uncommon. As soon as the hot weather comes on, the sap runs up the tree and oozes out of the wound and the 
tree comes into leaf. This "garden" (geneina) gum is collected every few days and taken into the nearest market. 
As soon as the rains commence the flow of gum ceases. Wild gum (wadi) is also collected by people who do not own 
gardens, from the ownerless and, as it were, wild trees, but it is worth comparatively little. 

The forests south of the Khor Abu Habl are full of red gum acacias (talh), but the trees are not worked, as the 
gum is of little value compared with the hashab which abounds. The latter is not yet worked to more than half its 
capacity, even in Eastern Kordofan. 

The following table shows the amount of gum, in hundredweights, exported from the Sudan, most of which comes 
from Kordofan, but it is impossible to say exactly what proportion :— 





The chief market for ostrich feathers is at El Nahud, where considerable quantities are collected. The best come 
from Dar El Zeiah in Northern Darfur, but few of these come into the market. The Hamar Arabs keep a few birds 
in pens. Ostriches have been seen within a few miles of El Obeid. Ostrich farming on a large scale has been 
proposed, but would be difficult on account of the expense of obtaining food. Feathers from wild birds (Kitala) are 
longer and more valuable than those plucked from farm birds (Maata), which, though cleaner, are shorter and cheaper. 

The trade in ivory was never very large, and had in 1901 practically ceased. It is now, however, increasing 
rapidly, owing to Government restrictions being removed. Over 50,000 lbs. weight passed through Nahud in 1903. 

Large quantities of india-rubber might be collected from the country south of El Eddaiya if the cost of transport 
to Khartoum admitted of a fair price being paid for its collection. At present it does not. 

There is a large export of cattle, mostly to Omdurman. 

The imports consist chiefly of cotton goods, sugar, salt, soap, tobacco, beads and metal goods, such as axes, hoes, 
and fasses. Blue and white cottons and muslins, with open-work pattern, are chiefly in demand, but coloured goods 
are frequently asked for now that the sartorial regulations of the Khalifa are no longer in force. The blacks especially 
like striking colours, but the dyes must be fast to stand washing with mud and water when no soap is available. 

It must be borne in mind in comparing the following account with former ones, that the Khalifa laid practically 
the whole of Kordofan waste at various times, and that when the province was re-occupied in December, 1899, 
all the large towns and most of the villages had ceased to exist. Thus, on the old road to El Obeid from Tura, via Abu 
Shok and Khursi not a single village or well remained, and the present road from El Dueira to Helba and Bara had 
to be taken. Bara was found almost deserted, all the old houses and gardens having been destroyed. Khursi, once 
a large place with a market, had no inhabitants, and has now only a few huts. At El Obeid there was not a single soul, 
and nothing was left of the old city but a portion of the mudiria buildings. Melbis is quite overgrown, and Abu 
Haraz is "still in ruins. Between El Obeid and Taiara there are now six villages. In January, 1900, there was not one. 
At Foga, once the headquarters of troops and a telegraph station, the ruins can hardly be traced. At many places in 
Dar Hamid, hundreds of date palms had been cut down. Everywhere the destruction was wanton and complete. 

The only people who successfully resisted the Dervish occupation were the Nubas ; living in the hills, they closed 
Ithe entrances to their villages with defensible walls. They were constantly raided by slave-traders in the old days 
l«nd so knew how best to defend themselves. But although the Mahdi failed to force these hills, except in the case 
lof a few small and detached ones, the inhabitants all suffered severely, especially from slave-raiding. Mek Geili said in 
11900 that he had lost two-thirds of his people, and, judging by the number of deserted houses in his country, this 
Statement is probably not much exaggerated. 

Those Arabs who were not taken to Omdurman, and who rebelled against the Khalifa in 1896, fled after Mahmud's 


] vory. 



Past and 



* lu 19<J4 the amount of gum exported from Kordofan is expected to be 219,300 kautars. One kantar = 100 lbs. 





raids to the Nuba hills, the (iezira, or Nahud, a place which, thouj;h never mentioned by old travellers, had over 4,0()0 
inhabitants in March. I'.KX), and a large market with traders from the Bahr El (Jhazal, Darfur, and Wadai. Many of 
these jjeople have now returned to their villages, but they are, of course, greatly impoverished and reduced in numbers. 

2. Inhabitants. 

The inhabitants consist of Arabs in the plains and Nubas (or blacks) in the hills. The Arabs are either villagers 
or nomads; the latter being divided into camel owners (Siat El Ilbil) and cattle owners (Baggara). There are no camel 
owners south and no Baggara north of El Obeid ; in the south they are horse and cattle owners. 

Nearly all the nomads grow a crop of dukhn, and in the west, where there are no wells, melons are grown for 


the cattle during the dry season. Portions of these nomad tribes have been obliged to becom'3 sedentary in con 
sequence of the destruction of their herds. 

The village Arabs own small herds of sheep and goats, a few donkeys, and some cattle, and sometimes a camel 
or two. Near the river they cultivate the islands and low ground, growing dura, beans, onions, etc., Inland, dukhn, 
simsim, and melons form the chief crops, with a little cotton in places. Throughout Eastern Kordofan gum is collected 
largely and exchanged for dura or cotton goods. 

Very poor after the defeat of the Khalifa, in consequence of two good years, they are now becoming fairly 
prosperous. A large area round each hslla (village) is under cultivation ; in the gum country, the gardens show signs 
of attention, and both the men and women, instead of wearing the dirty waist-cloth seen when the province was 
first occupied, now weai Manchester cotton goods very largely. Silver ornaments are becoming common. 

They have few firearms, and, as a rule, only carry a spear or small axe, even when travelling. 

Kordofnn. 179 

The most important tribe is the Gowama, living between El Obeid and El Agaba, and owning most of the gum 
country. The Shankab and Mesellemia live on the river ; the Dar Hamid tribes and the Bederia, near El Obeid, 
are large tribes, but are now poor. There are several villages of Danagla and Jaalin scattered about. Jebel Atshan 
and Jebel Royan are inhabited by Zaghawa Arabs, relations of the large tribe in Northern Darfur, and at Ushut, 
north-west of El Obeid, there are a few Nimr from Eastern Darfur. Between Hashaba and Jebel Kon the Baza 
Arabs have many gardens, and near Yasin, half-way between Jebel Kon and Taiara, the Massadab have a few 

The nomad tribes are far superior to the villagers, both physically and mentally. The various Baggara* tribes Nomada. 
live chiefly in Southern Kordofan, and only move north during the rains. They occupy the plains between El Obeid l^gga'"i- 
and the Bahr El Arab, and, being constantly in touch with the Nubas in the hills, were the chief slave-raiders. Their 
occupations are hunting for meat and skins, and occasionally for ivory, and herding their cattle. They own a good many 
horses, but when on the move carry their baggage on their bulls. They always carry arms. These consist of a large 
stabbing spear and small throwing spears. They own a certain number of Remington rifles, but have little ammuni- 
tion, and their rifles are generally in bad order, as they cut down the stock and fore-end to lighten them and 
frequently remove the backsight, as it makes the rifle more convenient to carry. 

They also carry a broad-bladed straight sword, which, when mounted, is slung over the high pommel 
of the saddle, the blade resting against the side of the saddle under the left thigh. The large spear (Kibis) is carried in 
the hand and the small spears (Tabaiig) are hung on the off side in a kind of quiver (Turkash). Shields are not used. 
A few of the richer men wear chain armour. They are by far the most warlike people in Kordofan, and are inclined 
to resent being no longer allowed to raid the blacks. The most important tribes are the Hawazma, between Sungikai 
and Jebel Eliri ; the Messeria, near Sinut ; the Kenana, between Lake No and Tendik ; the Selim, on the White 
Nile south of Dar El Ahamda (a branch of the tribe situated in the Gezira and Upper Nile Provinces), the Habbania, 
now a small tribe at Sherkeila. The Homr, south of El Eddaiya towards the Bahr El Arab, are a large and fairly rich 
tribe ; and the Gimma, near Gedid, the majority of whom, however, have permanent villages. 

The camel owners (Siat El Ilbil) are less numerous, and live entirely in Northern Kordofan, only moving as far Camel 
south as El Obeid when the water and grazing further north is exhausted. This depends, of course, on the rains. In owners, 
the winter of 1902-03 the Kordofan tribes were all south of the Shageig-Kagmar road by the beginning of December. 
They are by far the pleasantest-mannered Arabs to meet, being independent, but hospitable and polite, though perhaps 
no more honest than the rest. 

They live chiefly on camel or goats' milk (the former is excellent) and dukhn ; the latter they grow as a rain crop 
or buy with money earned by carrying goods, or else in exchange for sheep and goats. During the rains they all go 
north and east towards Dongola and beyond the Wadi Melh. Though most of the tribes still own herds of camels, 
goats, and sheep, large portions of some tribes live in villages and cultivate. 

Of the camel-owning tribes in the province, the Hamar, once a large and prosperous tribe owning thousands 
of camels, now reduced in numbers, own but a few hundred. They have a good many sheep and goats. Their 
country (Dar Hamar) lies between Dar Hamid and the Darfur frontier. A large proportion of this tribe have now 
settled down in their former villages and cultivate near Nahud, Um Bel, and all along the frontier between Foga and 

The Kababish still own many camels. They claim the country north of Kaja Katvd and eastwards to Gabra.f 
Their great watering-places are Gabra, El Safia, Habisa, and Kagmar. A great part of the tribe under Sheikh Ali 
Tom suffered very heavily from the Dervish rule, and for having supplied us with camels in 1884-85, they had to 
face the vengeance of the Mahdi when we abandoned the country. Their cultivation is west of Omdurman. 

The Shenabla graze their flocks and herds in Dar Hamid, but keep many goats and sheep near Shat. The 
Beni Jerar, now a small tribe, generally water their camels at Kagmar, but have cultivation near Shat, Um Deisis, 
and in the Busata district. Both the Shenabla and Beni Jerar were formerly under the head sheikh of the 
Kababish, but separated in Dervish times. 

The Kawahla live north-west of Shageig, where they water during the dry season. They own many camels and do 
a good deal of carrying trade. 

In the northern hills the inhabitants called Nuba Arabs speak Arabic and have copied the habits of the village Blacks. 
Arabs. They are black and have woolly hair but their features are more prominent than is the case with the southern 
tribes : they are not negroes. They live chiefly in straw tukls at the foot of their hills, though at Jebel Haraza some 
still live on the hillside. At Jebel Um Durrug the ruins of a very large village can be seen on the north side of Jebel 
Kershungal (the highest peak), near the'largest well (a crack in the rock). At Jebel Abu Hadid there is also a large 

* See table of Baggara (Jenealogies on p. 334. 

t Gabra, north-west of Omdurman, must not be confused witli Gabra El Sheikh, near Kagmar. 

2 li 



ruined village on the side of Jebel El Hella. At Jebel Atshan and Jebel Maganus, now entirely deserted by the 
Nubas, the ruins of small circular stone huts can be traced. 

In the southern hills, as at Jebel Tagale, Jebel Daier, Jebel El Joghub, etc., the natives are pure, or nearly pure, 
Nubas, and speak Nuba, though most hills have different dialects. But there are also several hills occupied by escaped 
slaves. These consist of negroes of mixed origin, and call themselves after the tribe they escaped from. Thus at 
Jebel Eliri there are Hawazmas and Kawahlas; at Jebel Krondi, Hawazmas ; and at Jebel Talodi, Homes. They 
speak Arabic, and have little intercourse with the Nubas. 

The Nubas are split up into innumerable tribes, each under a mek, who is generally on bad terms with his neighbours. 
Mek Geili, of Tagale, is one of the most powerful. He is a Jaalin by extraction ; it is not uncommon for the mek 
to be of Arab descent. Each mek is assisted by a " kugur." who acts as chief rain-maker and adviser to the tribe, 
his power being dependent chiefly on his astuteness. He is often the only man who can speak any Arabic. 

Living in the zone of good rains they raise large crops of dura round the base of their hills. They make, in good 
years, large quantities of merissa (native beer), and drunkenness is very common. They own a good many cattle. 


The men, aa a rule, wear no clothing, and the young women are usually contented with an elaborately plaited head of 
hair and a girdle of beads, from which a strip of cotton 3 or 4 inches wide depends, both in front and behind. But in 
places the latter garment is replaced by a strip of dom palm an inch wide. The married women generally wear either 
a cotton robe or a goat or sheep-skin. In many places the whole body is covered with a mixture of red clay and 
oil ; and each tuft of hair, which is generally very short, is covered with a lump of red clay to make it stand out 
at right angles to the head. Cotton clothes, are, however, gradually coming into fashion in the less remote hills. 

In most of the hills there are a good many rifles, but ammunition is scarce. The Remington rifle is the most 
common, but old Italian ones, magazine and single-loaders, are seen. Ammunition is manufactured locally, match- 
heads being often used as a substitute for caps. 

A man who owns a rifle, even if his bandolier be empty, always carries it for appearance sake. In January, 1900, it 
was estimated that Mek Geili alone had l,i500 rifles. The other arms carried are knob-kerries and spears, but no shields. 
The blacks chiefly fear being raided by horsemen when they are cutting their crops on the plains at the foot of their 
hills. To disconcert the Arab horsemen they leave the trunks of the trees about 2 or 3 feet high when they clear the 

Kordofan. Mt- 

ground, and also make pit-falls with spikes at the bottom. A horse running against one of these stumps hidden in the 
dura gives his rider a bad fall and enables the fleeing black to turn on his pursuer or escape to the hills. Their houses 
used to be always built high up on the hill, and any gullies or valleys closed by stone walls high enough and strong 
enough to be easily defended, but now they are beginning to build in the plains. They also take care, as a rule, 
to have water inside their defences ; they were thus able to hold out successfully against the Dervish expeditions 
which were sent against them from time to time. It is also probable that having been constantly raided for slaves by. 
the Government troops they had discovered the best means of escape and of defence even before the Mahdia. 

It is difficult to say how they will develop now that they no longer live in fear of the Arab. They are lazy, but 
have had no inducements to work. Easily angered, their quarrels do not seem to last long ; in fact, they are primitive 
children who require constant watching lest they become unmanageable, and constant protection lest other races abuse 
their ignorance, improvidence, or credulity. 

In a few places, such as El Dueini and El Obeid, there are mud houses with flat roofs. But the natives mostly Habitation 
live in conical-shaped straw huts (tukls) or in box-shaped shelters called " rakubas." The house is generally surrounded 
by a thorn fence, inside which the sheep and goats are kept at night. 

Tukls are cylindrical buildings with conical roofs. They are generally built by driving forked stakes (shab) into 
the ground in a circle from 10 to 20 feet in diameter. A circle (kara) of similar size is then made, apart from the other 
circle, of strong tough twigs tied together every few inches with strips of bark. To form the roof, four poles are tied 
together at their small ends and the butts pushed into the kara to form a cone. A small circle of twigs is then lashed 
on near the top and more poles placed with their butts in the kara and their tops lashed to the upper circle. As many 
more horizontal bands of twigs as the size of the huts demand are then made, and the whole frame is lifted on to the 
forks of the uprights. The roof is then thatched with dura, or dukhn stalks, and the walls are built of the same 

" Rakubas " are box-shaped huts made of poles and covered with grass or straw. They are useless in the rains 
but excellent at other times, as the walls, while keeping out the sun, let the wind through. 

The camel-owning Arabs make tents of wooUen blankets. They are exactly the shape of gipsy tents in England. 
The Baggara tribes make similar tents, but cover them with mats made of grass or reeds and tanned ox-hides called 
" dilla." The old frames can frequently be seen on deserted camping grounds. 

The Nubas, though they vary very much in skill, generally build better tukls than the Arabs. The walls are made 
of either stone, mud, or wattle and daub, the latter being sometimes ornamented with a pattern in red clay. The roofs 
are much better thatched than those of the Arabs and are given a steeper pitch. 

The furniture of an Arab tukl consists of a few bedsteads (angarib), very short and narrow, and sometimes a 
mat. The cooking utensils consist of a grindstone (generally outside the door), a stone to cook kisra on, a few 
wooden dishes for food, some flat baskets and earthenware pots (kantush), spherical in shape, for water. Pillows of 
wood to support the head are used by the blacks, who go in for extensive head dresses. Small and very light axes are 
used for cutting wood, they are seldom more than an inch wide and 5 inches long. A dilwa or bucket made of a 
piece of soft leather suspended from a circle of wood by strings a few inches long, so that it can open out nearly flat 
at the bottom of the well when water is scarce, is used for drawing water. 

Rope is made from the bark of trees, such as the tebeldi {Adansonia digitata), sayal [Acacia spirocarpa), kittr, Rope, 
and usher, which makes the best. 

Fire is made by twirling a stick of marakh (Leptenia spartium) on a piece of usher (Calotropis procera), or if no usher pjpg_ 
is available, two pieces of marakh are used. Two pieces of hard wood are also used at times, sand being put in the hole 
to increase friction. 

S. Towns. 

El Obeid. — El Obeid, the capital of Kordofan, is situated in lat. 13° 11' north and long. 30° 14' east. Its elevation 
has been given as between 1 ,700 and 2,000 feet. It is built on the side of a depression in the centre of which are the 
wells. These are from 60 to 80 feet deep, and give (except from March to June) a plentiful supply of water for the 
present population of about 10,000 people, but in former times, when the population was larger, there were frequently 
water famines. 

The old mudiria is still standing and has been repaired. Barracks for a Sudanese battalion and details are being 
built, and the town laid out in squares. Most of the inhabitants, many of whom only come in for the diy season, 
live in tukls, but a good many mud-brick houses have been built by merchants. There is a large market, and 
a considerable trade is done in gum and cattle. 

The old fortifications can still be traced in places, but most of the old buildings have disappeared. 

The town was held by Mohammed Pasha Said against the Mahdi from 3rd September, 1882, till 17th January, 1883, 

2 B 2 



when it fell (see p. 247). It is 158 miles from Dueim oa the W. Nile and, therefore, 268 miles from Khartoum. It is 
388 miles from El Fasher. 

Bara. — Bara is now a small place, but there are excellent gardens there and a small market. 

El Dukim. — EI Dueim, on the Nile, is the port of Kordofan. Most of the merchandise for the interior is landed 
there, and gum is shipped to Omdurman. There is a good market. [Vide p. 56 for description.) 

NAHUD.^Nahud, situated 165 miles west of El Obeid and 80 miles south of Foga, is a new town of some 7,(XX) 
inhabitants. It is not mentioned in any of the old accounts of Kordofan, as before the decline of the Dervisli rule it 
was a small place populated by Hamar and people from the river, such as Jaalin, Danagla, etc., who had originally 
gone out to trade in slaves. Gradually people collected there, so that the inhabitants consist of every tribe in 
Kordofan, the Hamar predominating. AH the trade with Darfur passes through here, and there is a large market 
where cotton and trade goods can be purchased. Cattle is the chief trade. Gum is not in any demand, owing to cost 
of transport. Feathers and ivory are obtainable in fairly large quantities. India-rubber is brought in in small 
quantities. There is little crime there now ; the market has been built, and there are some 40 good mud-brick shops 
owned by Greeks, Syrians, Jaalin, Danagla, etc. Dukhn is plentiful. When the town was first occupied drunkenness 
was very common amongst both sexes. Dura, simsim, and cotton are also brought into the market. It is the second 
town in Kordofan, and is increasing. 

Taiara. — Taiara, formerly the centre of the gum trade, was destroyed by the Dervishes, and in December, 1899, 
consisted of but six huts. It is now the headquarters of a district and has a good market. There are several gum 
merchants there, besides agents of Omdurman firms. The place is rapidly growing. 





Sheep and 


4. Animals. 

The Baggara tribes have large herds of the hump variety, but they are seldom anxious to sell them. They are 
small, but their meat is of good quality. The bulls are used as pack-transport animals and are extremely docile. 
Cattle are generally watered every second day, but if grazing is scarce and they have to go far from the wells, it is not 
uncommon for them to go three or even four days without water. This applies especially to the cattle in Northern 
Kordofan. There is also a smaller humpless variety. 

The Nubas own considerable herds but seldom sell them. Like the Dinkas and other blacks they regard cattle 
as s form of wealth which enables them to obtain wives. 

These have also decreased to a terrible extent. The Kababish, Kawahla, Shanabla, Hamar, and Beni Jerar, 
who formerly had the whole of the carrying trade of Kordofan, are now hardly able to cope with it. All 
over the gum country Hawawir and other northern tribesmen are to be found with caravans of camels. The 
Hamar have almost ceased to be a camel-owning tribe, and it must be years before the supply of camels is 
at all large. The villagers own few camels, and the Baggara tribes none, as they cannot live south of lat. 13° 30'. 
In the Dinka country to the south it is not at all xmcommon for people, especially children, to fly in dread at the 
sight of a camel. 

The Baggara tribes own a good many horses. Some are ugly animals, all head and tail, and not up to much 
weight, but the larger proportion are small horses, up to weight, good looking and well bred. The Dongalawi horse 
is prized, but it is now scarce ; horses, or rather ponies, are also imported from Abyssinia. These are far inferior, but 
ridden by Arabs they are more suited to the country, being very hardy. If trained they can do 60 miles without 
water and do not seem to suffer. Their price is generaUy £E.3 to £E.5, but a good one runs to £E.18 

There are a good many donkeys, chiefly among the villagers. Like the horses they can go for a couple of days 
without water. From Zereiga to Bint Joda (50 miles) or from Abu Zabbat to Nahud (65 miles) are quite common 
marches for donkeys. 

Large numbers of sheep and goats are owned by all tribes. In the south there is a small and very active breed 
which seems to carry more meat in proportion to its size than the ordinary Arab breed. 

Elephants are found in Dar El Homr, Dar El Ahamda, Dar El Tagale, and Dar Jange. Elephants are very 
numerous in Dar El Homr from May until June, when they travel to Dar Fertit and towards Lake No. 

Rhinoceros (both black and " white ") are found in Dar El Homr and Dar El Rizeigat. 

Bufialo are found in Dar El Homr, Dar El Nuba and in Dar El Ahamda. 

Lion, leopard, and cheetah are found all over Kordofan from south of Kaja Katul, and are very numerous in the 

Giraffe are found south of El Eddaiya and are very plentiful all over Southern and South- Western Kordofan. 

Roan-antelope are found in Southern Kordofan. 

Kudu are found scattered all over Kordofan ; most plentiful in Kaja and Talodi districts. 

Hartebeeste (Jacksonii) are very plentiful in Southern Kordofan. 



Tiang are plentiful in S. and S.E. and in Kaja and Foga districts ; there is a different species to that found on 
the White NUe, etc., which has been identified as the " Damaliscus korrigum" of West Africa, vide App. C. 

Oryx (white) are found in Dar Hamid and Kaja districts. 

Ril or Addra Gazelle are found all over Northern and North- Western Kordofan, but are local. They are not 
found elsewhere in the Sudan. 

Addax are found north of Jebel Fas. Rare. 

Ariel are found near Gabra and as far south as Fachi Shoya, but not very far west of White Nile. 

White-eared cob {Cobus leucotis) are found on the White Nile and in Dar Jange. 

Mrs. Gray's waterbuck are found in Dar Jange. 

Waterbuck (two kinds) are found on the White Nile and in Dar Homr. 

Reedbuck are found in Southern Kordofan. 

Oribi, duiker, dig-dig, bushbuck, gazelle (four kinds) and warthog are found in most places south and south-west 
of Keilak. 

Gazelle (three kinds), viz., Rufifrons, Dorcas, and Isabella, are plentiful in various part of Kordofan. 

The " harnessed antelope " and eland are said to exist in the south. 

Hares, quail, partridge, jungle-fowl, bustard (four kinds), and guinea-fowl are plentiful in the south up to Snmll Game. 

5. Climate and Health. 

The year in Kordofan is divided into three seasons, viz. : — 

The Kharif, or rainy season, wliich commences usually about 15th of June and lasts until the end of September. 

The Shita, or cold weather, from the beginning of October to the end of February. 

The Self, or hot weather, from March to the middle of June. 

The Rainy Season.* — Towards the middle of June the wind changes to the south, and heavy clouds begin 
to collect in that quarter. These, in a very few days, bring a storm of rain, usually heralded by strong wind, clouds 
of dust and sand, and thunder and lightning. These storms appear every two or three days. Although a steady 
rain falls, occasionally for 24 days, it usually comes in the form of stormy showers. As the result of these showers, 
by the end of July, the ground, even in the villages and around Government buildings, become covered with rank green 
vegetation, which defies all efforts to destroy it. The rank smell from this grass, the numerous frogs, toads, and 
other reptiles it harbours, and the general lassitude produced by these surroundings, render life anything but enjoyable 
during the day, whilst sleep inside one's house is rendered well nigh impossible at night by the steamy moistures of 
the air and attacks of sand flies and mosquitos. 

The Cold Weather. — Towards the end of September the wind begins to blow from the north and a great change 
takes place. The fever decreases, until by the end of November there are only a few cases in hospital. The weather 
is delightfully cool and the breezes bracing and refreshing. 

The Hot Weather. — The heat in El Obeid and Western Kordofan is not as great as in other parts of the Sudan ; 
the maximum temperature being rarely above 106° Fahr., whilst the nights remain delightfully cool until the rains 

Altitude above the sea level, compiled by Major Prout, 1876 : — "[■ 

Helba 1,381 

xxcxua . . . . 

Bara . . 


Wells 20 feet deep. 

El Obeid 


„ 80-130 „ „ 

Faki Don 


„ 120 „ „ 



„ 110 „ „ 



80 „ „ 

Um Dobau 


15 „ „ 





Um Ratali 




Aboir Tine 


Abu Sinun Hella 


* The rainfall at El Obeid from March to October, 1904, amounted to 12-16 inche.s ; the maximum temperatures registered in 
1904 were 108° in April and 107° in May, the lowest being 45° in February, 
t Some of theMe names are not now recognisable. 


Kordofan aiul'Par/ur. 

Healtli. Most diseases in Kordofan may be included under one of two heads — malarial and venereal. Were it not for 

these classes of disease Kordofan might be considered a healthy country. 

Malaria. — The fever is, perhaps, more often of the remittent type. Those attacked for the first time almost 
invariably have remittent fever ; the subsequent attacks are either remittent or intermittent. During January and 
February, which are otherwise healthy months, a particularly sudden and severe type of remittent fever has been 
noticed. A patient, previously well, will lose consciousness in the course of an hour, and either die in a state of coma 
or only recover after weeks of convalescence. This apparently is the result of malaria contracted during the rains, as 
EgjTitian and British officers who have spent a wet season here and afterwards left the district, have been attacked 
in this way whilst on leave in Cairo and England. The good effect of hypodermic injections of hydro-bromide of 
quinine in fever of this kind is worth recording. 

Venereal Diseases of every kind rage, except in Dar Nulia, where the people make great efforts to prevent 
the spread of these diseases. Travellers should take precautions to prevent their guides and servants drinking out of 
their water-bottles. 

Water-borne Diseases. — Of diseases traceable to an impure water supply there has been a remarkable freedom 
in El Obeid itself. In this garrison there have been only a few cases of dysentery and diarrhcea during the last three 
years. Amongst the inhabitants of the country further south, who derive their water supply from rain water collected 
in hollows during the rainy season or from shallow wells during the dry season, this is not always the case, as many 
cases of dysentery, tape worm, guinea worm (very prevalent), etc., coming from these parts testify. 

Guinea Worm. — With regard to the guinea worm, there is not sufficient evidence to prove that it is contracted 
by washing or wading in water, as the natives state. It in all probability is taken into the system with drinking water. 
To avoid this pest all surface water or water that is likely to have been fouled by the natives wading in it (for the 
ova are introduced into the water in this way) should be boiled before being drunk. 

Small-Pox is still common in the southern part of the district, and the faces of many of the inhabitants are scarred 
in consequence. 

Pneumonia is common amongst the blacks during the cold weather, and a great many camels die from this disease. 

Section 2. — Darfur. 

HiBtoricaL* Darfur was formerly one of the line of ancient African Kingdoms stretching across the Continent from 

west to east, of which Wadai and Abyssinia are the only ones still surviving^ as independent states. Up to the 
early part of the 18th century the Kings of Darfur had dominion over the country as far east as the Atbara ; but 
the war-like Fungj, who at that time were one of the most powerful tribes of the Sudan, gradually drove the 
Darfurians back, and established their own authority on the banks of the White Nile. Vide p. 229. 

In 1770 they wrested the Province of Kordofan from the Darfur kings, but five years later it was retaken by the 
latter, and remained under their control until conquered in 1822 by Mohammed Bey Dafterdar, the brother-in-law 
of Ismail Pasha, who was burnt at Shendi. 

After the loss of Kordofan the Darfurians retired westwards and the kings then governed only a circumscribed 
area, of which Jebel Marra was the centre. This is the Darfur that was conquered and annexed to Egypt by Zubeir 
Pasha in 1874 and which is the Darfur of the present day. 

Modern Darfur in shape is a more or less regular parallelogram, 400 miles by 400 miles, and may be said to lie 
between N. Lat. 10° and 16° and E. Long. 22° and 27° 30'. 

It is bounded on the north by Dar Bedaiat and the desert west of the Wadi Melh ; on the east by Kordofan, J the 
frontier running from Kaja Serrug (Darfur) in a south-west direction to Dam Jamad (Kordofan) and thence in a 
southerly direction to the Bahr El Arab and Dar Fertit ; Dar Habbania and Dar Taaisha belonging to Darfur. The 
western boundary leaves Dar Sula and Borgu or Wadai within the French sphere of influence and Dar Gimr and 
Dar Tama to Darfur. 
Drainage. The watershed of Darfur, which forms part of that separating the basin of Lake Chad from that of the Nile, runs 

nearly north and south through the centre of the country. The chief features which define it are in the North Jebel 
Meidob (3,500 feet) connected with Jebel Tagabo further south by a plateau, the greatest altitude of which is about 
1.200 feet, and further south Jebel Marra and its offshoots. To the south-west of these mountains, the main peaks of 
which rise to an altitude of some 6,000 feet, the plain is about 4,000 feet above the sea. 

* ('hiefly from " Fire and Sword in the Sudan." 

t It was rumoured at Oradurman (May, 1904) tliat Abesher, the capital of Wadai, was occupied by the French on the 20th December, 
1903. This rumour, however, appears to be unfounded. 
X For detail of frontier, vide App. G, p. 337. 




As might be expected the general direction of the drainage is east and west. In the north the country is so arid 
and the rains so meagre that the water draining eastwards towards the Wadi Melh soon sinks into the sandy soil and 
disappears. Similarly, further south the Wadis, chief of which is Wadi Ko, draining the east and south-east of the 
Marra group and which flow generally in a south-easterly direction towards the Bahr El Arab, an affluent of the ]>hr 
El Ghazal, seldom if ever discharge water into that river. The Wadis Bulbul, Gendi, and Ibra, however, which spring 
from the more southern slopes of the watershed and also trend south-east, are believed to convey a considerable 
quantity of water into the Bahr El Arab during the rainy season. 

To the west of the watershed the general trend of the wadis is south-west, the Wadi Sonet and Kia in the north, 
with their affluents draining the hills of Dar Tama, and most important of all the Wadi Azum which carries the 
drainage from the western slopes of Jebel Marra are thought to unite near Dar Sula and to flow, under the name of 
Bahr El Salamat, towards Lake Iro, though it is doubtful if their waters ever reach this marshy swamp which, in turn, 
drains into the Shari. 

The drainage of the south-west of Darfur flows towards the Eiver Mamun, a perennial stream, also an affluent of 
the Shari, which, of course, empties into the southern end of Lake Chad. 

Broadly it may be said that the country to the north and east of the Marra range resembles that of Kordofan in Water 
its character and usual dearth of water, whilst to the west, south-west, and south it is much better watered and more ^"PP'j'- 
fertile. During the rains water is here everywhere plentiful, whilst at this season much of Southern Darfur becomes 
marshy and difficult to travel over. In the rainy season too the principal wadis, especially those in the south and 
south-west, are perfect torrents, and, although their beds are dry soon after the cessation of the rains, water is 
generally to be found in abundance held up by the clayey strata at a few feet below the surface. In Eastern Darfur 
the weUs are of considerable depth and at great distances from each other, especially south of Dara and Taweisha, 
and the people are dependent to a great extent on water melons (batikh) and to a less extent on Tebeldi trees 
(Adansonia digitata) which are such a feature of Dar Hamar, the adjoining district of Kordofan. 

The deepest wells are at Karnak, where water is only obtained at 250 feet. At Burush on the Fasher-Obeid 
road and on the road to Taweisha, and at Taweisha itself, the wells, which pass through strata of chalk and marl, 
average from 100 to 130 feet in depth. 

At El Fasher the wells are of no great depth and at the end of the dry season water is obtainable at 35 feet. 

The nearer one approaches the central group of mountains the depth at which water is found diminishes. At 
3,200 feet above the sea it is found by excavating in the sandy beds of khors, but at 4,000 feet there is running water 
which becomes more abimdant still further to the west of Jebel Marra. 

The geological formation is very varied ; in the west the mountains show a volcanic origin ; in the north Geology, 
and south granite and sandstone are the prevailing rocks ; in the east the soil is sandy and contains a quantity of iron, 
which is worked to a small extent. 

In the east and north-east, granite predominates, with the exception of a strip between Foga and El Fasher, 
where red and white sandstone crops out. 

In the north, Wadi Melit and the hills in its neighbourhood are of gneiss. To the north-east of this, granite 
again predominates at Saya, whilst still further north, Jebel Tagabo is of sandstone. 

Jebel Meidob contains both sandstone and granite ; this group has been much distorted by volcanic agency, and 
beds of lava are to be seen in all directions. To its south-west lies Bir El Melh,* an extinct crater, which to outward 
appearance is an insignificant hill, but has a depth of about 150 feet. Here is a small lake strongly impregnated 
with alkaline matter, while sweet water springs issue from the sandstone and granite declivities. 

The Jebel Marra group is also of volcanic origin ; lava and granite are to be found everywhere, but there is no 
sandstone ; small peaks of pink granite crop up here and there between these mountains and El Fasher. 

Stretching from the main group in a westerly direction for a distance of 30 or 40 miles is a huge dyke of white 
quartz witil a sandstone plateau raised some 300 feet above the plain which is itself about 3,200 feet above sea level. 

The inhabitants report a large lake of brackish water, from which salt can be obtained, on the north-eastern part 
of the mountain; while, at a day's journey to the west, salt is also found at Karunga, and the Wadi Burka is strongly 
impregnated with soda. 

In all the depressions sand rich in iron is met with. 

In a southerly direction from Jebel Marra, there stretches a broad alluvial plain which is dotted, all over with 
peaks of granite, giving the imjjression of a range of mountains, buried all but its highest points. 

The original tribes of the country are the FoRS and the Dago ; the latter ruled for centuries over the entire Inhabitants, 
district from their inaccessible strongholds in Jebel Marra. Tradition relatesf that about the 14th century the 
TuNGUR Arabs, emigrating south from Tunis, scattered throughout Bornu and Wadai, and eventually reached Darfur, 

♦ Not to lie confused with Bir El Mellia on the Arbain road west of Jjebba- 

t Taken from " Fire and Sword in the. Sudan," •■'■"- 



the first arrivals being two brothers, Ali and Ahmed, who settled with their flocks on the western slopes of Jebel 
Marra. Of these brothers, Ahmed, nicknamed El Makur, was destined to become the founder of a new dynasty in 
Darfur. He became very popular with the then king Kor who not only gave him his favourite daughter as wife, 
but nonxinated him as his successor to the throne. Accordingly on Kor's death Ahmed succeeded to the throne 
of Darfur, and on the news spreading to the Tungur of Wadai and Bornu, they flocked into the country in such 
numbers as to partially displace the Teigo. The only small settlements now left of the former rulers are near Dara, 
where there is a Dago sheikh, and also at Dar Sula, a long way to the west, where there is a semi-independent 
ruler called "Sultan Bekhit El Dagawi." 

A regular male succession was now established and a great grandson of Ahmed's was the celebrated Sultan Dali, 
who wrote the Kitab-DaU or Penal Code. Another noted Sultan was Suleiman who took the name of Solon, who 
being the son of an Arab mother and himself married to an Arab woman, introduced Arab blood into the Royal 



Family. It was through him, some 400 years ago, that the country became Moslemised, and his descendants now 
proudly boast of their Arab descent and quite ignore the black element which is undoubtedly there, and which may 
accoimt for the bitter enmity which exists between the ruling Darfur family and the Nomad Arabs of the country. 
At the end of the I8th century Sultan Abdel Rahman married a Beigo girl and her son, Mohammed EI Fadl, became 
Sultan about the beginning of the next century. The Beigo tribe, originally slaves, were from that time declared 

To turn to more recent times, Darfur has during the last 20 years been so devastated and depopulated that 
many formerly important tribes such as the Maharia, Nawaiba, Mahamid, Ereigat, Beni, Hussein, etc., have 
become so disintegrated and scattered that they now practically cease to exist as tribes and are seldom heard of. 

The population of Darfur, prior to the Mahdi's revolt, was estimated at 1,. 500,000. It is now probably less than 
half that number. 

The Masabat and Kunjaea, the ruling class of Foes, have their centre at El Fasher. 



The FoRS are clean and industrious. They may be found assembled under trees spinning, weaving cotton or 
plaiting mats, whilst the children will be herding the cattle. The men wear a jibba and drawers of coarse cotton 
stuff, whilst the women wear a piece of the same stuff made fast round the hips with the end thrown over the 

They live in tukls or conical huts, five or six of which arranged in a circle form a habitation. 

Compared to other tribes, they are exceedingly clean feeders and very particular as to the manner in which their 
food is served, though corn and merissa are the main articles of consumption. 

They are religious and fanatical, and study the Koran assiduously. 

The mountainous stronghold of Jebel Marra is inhabited by the Jebelawin, the aboriginal inhabitants of 


Other important tribes are in the north the Zaghawa and Zeiadia, in the east the Berti and Kaja, in the Arabs, etc. 
south-east the Ma alia and Rizeigat, and in the south the Beni Helba, Habbania and Taaisha. The four last- 
named tribes are Baggara.* In the west are the Masabat and Tama. 

In addition to these Darfur has a large sedentary population amongst whom are found the following tribes : 
Mima, Birged, Beigo, and Gimr, etc. 

The present ruler of Darfur is Sultan AH Dinar, a grandson of Sultan Mohammed Fadl ; he was kept a prisoner 
at Oradurman during the Mahdia. In September, 1898, immediately after the defeat of the Khalifa at Kereri, he 
escaped to his native country. He now pays an annual tribute to the Sudan Government by which he has been 
officially recognised as its Agent in Darfur. 

* For description of the Baggara Arabs, vide p. 179, also their (jlenealogical Table on p. 334. 

2 C 



The management of the internal affairs of the country is left almost entirely to the sultan, though the Sudan 
Government sends him instructions and advice on certain matters from time to time as occasion arises. His judg- 
ments on all administrative questions are based on a combination of the Sharia Mohammedia and common law. 

The sultan maintains an army, organised on Dervish lines, of some 6,000 rifles, mostly of a more or less 
antiquated description. In case of need he could probably mobilise upwards of 2,000 horsemen. His chief com- 
manders are Mohammed Ali Dedingawi, Adam Rijal, and Kamar El Din. The greater part of the army is quartered 
at El Fasher : the principal outlying garrison (about 500 men) is at Jebel El Hella on the Fasher-Obeid road. 

Though in 1874 it took Colonel Mason, with a large caravan, from 100 to 150 days to reach Fasher from Cairo, 
nowadays a letter from Cairo could reach Fasher in 30 days without any difficulty. 

In the old days the telegraph extended to Foga, now the furthest point to which it is proposed at present to 
extend it is Nahud, which is on the western frontier of Kordofan, and about 10 days' camel ride from El Fasher. 

There are two routes from Omdurman to El Fasher. That most generally used is vin El Obeid, Nahud, and Jebel 
El Hella. The other, which has hitherto been avoided bv merchants owing to the number of robbers in the neighbour- 
hood of Kaja Katul, and Serrug, lies to the north of El Obeid, and, after passing the two above-mentioned places, 
joins the El Obeid-Nahud route at Jebel El Hella. Both are described in the route reports in Vol. II. 

There are three routes from Fasher to Abesher, the capital of Wadai. The direct road known as Sikkat 
El Masalat passes rid Kebkebia (Darfur) and Bir Tawil to Abesher. This is not much used, in fact Ali Dinar has 
forbidden merchants or pilgrims to use either this or the northern route, as at Kebkebia there is a Fiki named Senin 
who has defied all the sultan's efforts to induce him to tender his submission, and this road is consequently unsafe. 

The northern route runs through Kutum, Dar Zaghawa, Dar Gimr, and Dar Tama ; this is known as Sikkat 
Zaghawa. Owing to recent disturbances in Dar Zaghawa, this road is temporarily closed. 

The southern route leads rin Keibe and the Wadi Azum to Dar Sula and thence northwards to Abesher ; this is 
known as Sikkat Dar Sula, ani is the longest of the three, but it is comparatively safe. 

Trade between Darfur and other parts of the Sudan has increased a good deal of late. The principal imports 
from the Nile are cotton goods (gomash), sugar, and tea ; the exports are feathers, ivory, pepper, rhinoceros horns, 
and tobacco. The ivory, as a rule, comes from Dar Jange and Dar Fertit in the south. Owing to the recent 
disturbances in Wadai, ivory that formerly was exported through that country has been finding its way rid El Fasher 
to Omdurman. A good many camels and cattle are imported from Wadai and are exported again via Nahud 
to the Nile. 

A royalty of about 20 percent- is taken on all ivory and feathers leaving Fasher, where the price of ivory is from 
£15 to £16 per 100 lbs. 

Every laden camel entering Darfur pays PT.150 to PT.180, and each laden donkey PT.30 to PT.60. 

The taxes are three in number, Oshur, Zika, and Fitra. Oshur tax is assessed at the rate of jVth of the harvest, 
whilst Zika is 2 per cent, on all property animals, goods, or money. 

The sultan has ordered that the present Egyptian coinage shall be current in Darfur, but merchants, finding 
they lose by it, are not anxious to introduce it. At present the principal coins in use are " Girsh Kabashi," 20 of 
which equal one rial Mejidi, the equivalent of PTKi. 

There are also a few " Girsh Garagandi " in use, these are of the same value as the " Kabashi." 

Camels are the best transport animals, except in the mountainous and southern regions, where mules, donkeys, 
or bullocks would be preferable. 

The climate, of course, varies considerably. Fasher is healthy. In the south, where the rains are heavier, there 
must be the usual malaria at certain seasons. The climate of Jebel Marra is said to be cool and healthy. 

The people of Darfur, as a whole, are followers of Islam, but the negroes in Jebel Marra, the Jebelawin, and those 
in the south and south-west have no religion. The late Sheikh Senussi wrote three times to Sultan Ali Dinar asking 
him to prepare Zawias for him, and to otherwise further his doctrine. Ali Dinar, however, considered it best to 
politely hold aloof from him, and there are now no Senussiites in El' Fasher. 




(1) Witli 

(2) With 








The country may be divided into three sections with reference to the vegetation, i.e., the eastern zone of sandy 
steppes, the central mountains, and the western zone. 

In the eastern zone, the cultivation of corn, in the shape of dukhn and a little dura, is the chief industry. A small Com. 
quantity of simsim, cucumbers, pumpkins, and water melons are also grown. In certain depressions of the ground, 
where the presence of clay gives a stronger soil, cotton is produced, but in no great quantity. 

2 c 2 








The northern part of the country is almost uncultivated ; and in the west, agriculture is pretty much the same as 
described for the eastern portion, except that owing to the greater quantity of water, more vegetables are grown. 

The central mountainous district is the best watered and richest, and accordingly the most thickly populated. 
Small terraces, upon which gardens are laid out, are constructed all over the slopes of the hills. Here barley, wheat, 
dukhn,* dura, simsim. pumpkins, and melons are grown. In the small water-courses, onions are planted during the 
dry season. Honey of very good quality is collected in Jebel Marra. 

The cotton grown formerly was excellent. Now very little is grown. Arabs manufacture from wool a coarse 
material, but the Fors are ignorant of the process of its manufacture. 

The production of salt is carried on in many parts of Darfur. 

Camel breeding is the principal pursuit of the Arabs in the north and east of Darfur. North of 14° lat. camels used 
to be very numerous ; they are now comparatively scarce. The Zeiadia, Maharia, and Bedaiat are the principal breeders. 

The Arabs who breed camels occupy themselves with no other industry, and have even to buy the corn used in 
their households, which, with camel's milk, satisfies all their wants. 

In the south, among the sedentary inhabitants, cattle and sheep are to be found in abundance. 

The cattle are of two kinds : the humped species and the so-called African species, with long horns. The former 
are compact, well-made animals, and become very fat ; the others are not worth much. 

The sheep have but little wool, but their flesh is good ; among the Zaghawa there is a species with long curly hair. 
Zaghawa is leased to the present sultan's sister, Miriam Tajer. 

Goats abound everywhere. 

The Baggara Arabs confine themselves chiefly to breeding cattle and horses. The Messeria are large horse- 

Horse breeding is largely carried on by the Mahamid tribe. The horses are small in size but very strong, and 
are said to be able on an emergency to travel for 60 hours without water. They are chiefly of a local breed 

The sultan has a stud farm in the Zeiadia country, with the object of improving and reviving the breed of 


El Fasher. The old capital was Kobe, but at the end of the 17th century it was moved to El Fasher which is now the 

chief town. Colonel Gordon in 1877 described it as a most miserable place, though once a populous and thriving town 
under the sultans. It is 388 miles by road from El Obeid, or about 650 miles from Khartoum, and about 300 miles 
nearly due east from Abesher. 

El Fasher or Tendelti stands mostly on the western bank of the Wadi Tendelti or Dindil in an angle formed by 
the junction of the latter with the Wadi El Ko. 

The Tendelti has no current of its own, but is filled during the rains by the overflow from the Ko, and a dam, 
constructed near the junction, retains the water for some time. The wells supplying the town are all sunk in its bed. 

The town now consists almost entirely of tukls and box-shaped straw sheds. There are about five or six mud 
houses, and the sultan intends to build himself a palace, the plans and material for which have been already sent 
to him from Khartoum. 

On the town side, opposite the old palace, the old Government constructed a square fort with ditch and parapet. 
This is now demolished. 

The population of the town was, in 1875, about 2,650. Of these — 1,700 were natives, 300 Zeiadia Arabs, 250 Sabah 
Arabs, 400 Melha Arabs. The population is now estimated at about 10,000. 
Dara. There are now no other towns of importance. Dara, which used to be second in importance to Fasher, and the 

headquarters of a mudiria, is merely a small tukl village. 
Melit Melit is the name of rather a populous district in the north. Here there is a plentiful water supply from wells 9 to 

] 2 feet deep in a khor, which also contains many date trees. 
Tura. The ancient burial place of the sultans is at Tura in Jebel Marra. 

♦ The dukha is ready for harvesting 90 days after sowing. 


















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Section 3. — The Shilluks and their Country.* 

of the 

The Shilluk nation, the only people in the Sudan who acknowledge one head as immediate ruler or mek, extends 
along the west bank of the Nile from Kaka in the north to Lake No in the south. There is also a colony along the 
banks of the Sobat, near its mouth, extending 35 miles up this river to Nagdyeb, and chiefly living on the north bank. 

The country is almost entirely a grass country, and as a result its wealth consists almost entirely of cattle. 

A large and increasing amount of dura and other vegetables is grown, but it is often barely enough for the 
needs of the population, and with bad harvests famines are constantly occurring. 

Physically, the Shilluks, Shulla, or Ojallo (native names) are a fine race. In colour they are glossy blue-black. 
The average height of the men is quite 5 feet 10 inches, and that of the women is in proportion. According to 
European ideas they are narrow in the shoulders and thin in the calves in proportion to their height, but they are 
capable of sustaining considerable fatigue on short rations, and are courageous and moral in their sexual relations. 

Every man carries and cherishes a long spear, with a laurel-leaf-shaped blade and a tuft of ostrich feathers near 
the butt ; when prepared for war he carries also a knob-kerry, an extra throwing spear or two, and a light oblong 
shield of wickerwork or hide. The hair is twisted by means of a mixture of gum, mud, and cow-dung, into a series 
of extraordinary shapes, e.g., cockscombs, " tarn o'shanter "-like halos, plumes a foot high, knobs, etc., etc. Few 
clothes are worn, occasionally a twist of cloth or a leopard's skin, but as a rule the men go stark naked. The women 

♦ Compiled chiefly from Reports from Major Matthews, the Rev. Father Bauliolzer (R.C Mission, Lxil), and the Rev. J. K. Giffen 
(American Protestitnt Mission, Soljat). The Kditor is* under much obligation to Father Banliolzer for hi.s kindness in 
writing him a special description, and to Rev. J. K. Ciitfen for allowing liini to make use of his MS. for part of the Appendix. 



are more clothed. A large proportion of the Sudanese battalions are drawn from Shilluks, though no conscription is 

The legendary history and the religion of th"; Shilluks are related on page l!)7. History and 


In character they are haughty and independent, and hate foreigners, according to the lessons instilled by tlic Cliaracter. 
older men who suffered under the " Turks," the Danagla slave-dealers, and the Dervishes. Under the present regime 
it is hoped that this feeling will die out. They are also crafty, quarrelsome, and untrustworthy as a rule ; at the same 
time they are thick-headed and obstinate ; but, as aforesaid, their morals in relation to women are very good ; they 
have a fine senss of discipline, and become very much attached to their leaders, whether black or white ; they are 
exceedingly plucky, and they are the finest warriors in the Sudan. 

The country is thickly populated for its size. Right away from Kaka to Lake No is a continuous string of villages Population, 
lying about a mile from the river. There are only two points in the whole of this distance at which the interval between 
villages exceeds two miles, and these are at the points where grazing is bad (between Akurwa and Nun, and between 
Nielwag and Nyagwado). There are, in addition, eight groups of villages which lie 12 to 22 miles inland, away from the 

A careful census of the river villages in 1903 gave a result of 1,010 villages, 8,693 domiciles, and 39,312 souls. Villages. 

Shilluk villages are invariably built in a circle, the open space in the centre containing nothing but a meeting-house 
for men only, and almost invariably a temple erected to a grandfather or great-grandfather of the reigning chief. 
Each domicile consists usually of three or four tukls, enclosed by a dura stalk fence. The houses are kept scrupulously 
clean by the women. A family occupies two or three huts ; one is reserved for the householder with his wife, another 
as a cook-house, where merissa is also made, and the third is occupied by the retainers and children of the house. 
Dr. Schweinfurth records the existence of Shilluk villages of 200 huts. The largest village is Atwadoi, consisting of 
120 domiciles, in a district of the same name north of Kodok. The constitutional laziness of the tribe does not 
prevent their erecting very well-built tukls, and many men are most proficient in thatching the roofs. The crest or 
peak of the tukl being completed, the workman descends, and a sheep is at once killed by the future occupant and 
eaten by the workmen, whose reward is completed by a further donation of two sheep. 

A wife can be had for a milch cow and four to five oxen, but this is a high price to pay at present. This purchase Jtomestic 
money cannot be collected by many all their lives. The Shilluks keep one, two, or three wives ; a very few exceed life, 
this number. 

The Shilluk woman is fruitful ; there are some with eight or nine children ; three, four and five children seem 
to be the average issue. In former times, it is said, the number of children was much larger. 

Having cost the man much money and trouble the woman is well looked after and treated. Aided by the girls 
she has she does her house work. She helps her husband honestly in the field. She is permitted to rem&in for weeks; 
on a visit to her relatives. If disobedient the man gives her a thrashing on the back with a rope end, but this occurs 
very seldom. 

The education of the children consists practically of the phrase, "' Do just the same as you see me doing. ' 

The native at home knows of no science or profession, hence schools and house tasks are out of the question. Girls 
learn from their mothers house, field and plaiting work. The boys are all cattle-tenders. At the age of 13 to 15 years 
they start the cultivation of a small iield, and grow up to manhood by degrees, acquiring the means for a house and 
a wife. 

As long as they are young, children are obedient, but they take no notice of what the parents say as soon 
as they are able to carry out any work by themselves. 

The cultivation carried on during the rainy season requires hard v^ork, which the Shilluk is not inclined to give CnUivation. 
except for short periods at a time. The soil is, along the river, very rich and black, about 12 feet thick, and is named 
" do do " ; inland it is poorer. Owing to the richness, weeds grow apace, and the land has to be weeded two or three 
times to avoid the young dura being choked. When gathered, thieves, mice, and elephants reduce the stock considerably, 
and even when he has produced, by dint of hard work, a fair pile of dura the native does not use it economically, 
for he eats a great deal at a time, gives generously to his poorer friends, and sells it badly. 

Maize, beans, melons, f ul (ground nuts), sesame, and cotton are also grown, but in only sufficient quantities for local 
wants. The cotton cultivation could probably be extended. 

The chief occupation of the Shilluk is, however, cattle breeding. To him it represents property and wives. The [^l^^"^^^,, 
amount of cattle in the country is unfortunately smaller than formerly, for it has been reduced largely by the depredations ' ^ ' =■ 
of the Danagla, the Dervishes, and even their own kings. In comparison with the Dinkas they are poor indeed, for 
a Dinka will willingly part with 20 or more oxen and cows for a wife, whereas the Shilluk can only pay one 
cow and three or four oxen with difficulty. 

The cattle census of 1903 amounted to only 12,173 head of cattle and 63,473 sheep and goats in tlie whole country, 






Hippo hunt- 


but they are increasing. The cattle are large and of a good stamp, and breed well, but the sheep and goats (the 
former of whom have hair, not wool) are small and stunted. Many cattle die every year of disease, in spite of every 
care being taken. One-sixth part of the sheep and goats, it is said, die during the rains, and these animals are especially 
exposed, not only to crocodiles, but to glanders and a sort of guinea worm which burrows between the hoofs. 

During the dry season herds migrate to different parts of the country, the majority of those owned by the central 
district crossing over to the east bank of the Nile, to return when the new grass springs up. Similarly the cattle 
of the Sobat Shilluks descend to the lagoons south of the Sobat and graze with the herds of Obai and Fennikang. All 
the youths and boys over 10 years old accompany them, leaving their homes for several weeks. 

The grass of Shilluk land generally gives little nourishment. Milk is therefore scanty. If one possesses even 
herds of cows the result in milk is small ; curiously enough three or four out of every 10 are barren. A cow is never 
slaughtered ; like man, it ought to expire by itself. Oxen are only killed on festal occasions, such as funeral dinners, 
etc. Mutton and goats' meat are usually only eaten at festival dinners and ceremonies, or when the animal expires ; 
or in cases of human sickness. 

It is therefore very difficult to buy cattle from the Shilluks, for they cannot obtain wives for cash. It is simply 
impossible to buy a milch cow. 

Old soldiers who have returned home to their native land, where they never get a piece of meat to eat, hanker 
after the flesh pots of Egypt, where they had meat nearly every day. 

The Shilluks have their own blacksmiths, potters, thatchers, pipemakers, surgeons, boat-builders, and basket 
and hair plaiters. 

The blacksmiths are very skilful ; they prepare spears, spades for building, small axes, fishing rods, big harpoons, 
picks, arm rings, bells and chains, etc. Their handicraft is a travelling one ; they take their tools and go about from 
one place to another. The pay of a blacksmith is good. The employer has to support the man working for him, and 
makes him a present of sheep besides. 

Pottery is the handicraft of the women. They make pots, pitchers, heads for smoking pipes in any form, and 
make them well. They are paid in food for their work. 

The thatchers make not only watertight but also very neat roofs ; a skilful European cannot make one better. 

Snake stings and damage from blows or spear wounds are numerous. For the treatment of these evils the surgeons 
are called in. In their work they chop and cut most unmercifully, but although they inflict much pain they often 
save lives. 

To make canoes out of crooked pieces of wood is the work of the ship-builders, and, with the poor tools they have, 
they make fairly satisfactory boats. 

The plaiting of baskets and straw mats is done by both sexes. The species of grass here being not well adapted 
for plaiting, the production is not grand ; however, the result meets the demand. 

The nimbus-like and other head-dresses of hair worn by the Shilluks are masterly work. 

Families carry on these respective trades for generations, and the father and mother impart their skill to their children 
and next relatives. 

Building houses, carving and polishing clubs and spear sticks and other common work is understood by every 

There are villages which are especially distinguished ; some in fishing or hunting, some in cattle-breeding, others 
in cultivating dura, etc. 

During the rainy season, old and young, men and women, are busy ; anyone who visits the country at this time of 
the year would believe them to be a hardworking people. At this time work is very fatiguing ; no European could 
do it on such a meagre fare as that of the Shilluks. Diseases, fever, dysentery, colds, coughs, and pulmonary ailments 
are also rife at this season, both among the natives and their cattle. 

During the dry season, however, there is not much to do ; at most there are houses to be built and repaired, and 
this is done by young men. The old ones, viz., from 35 years onwards, do nothing but lie about or pay visits. 

At this time of the year Shilluks begin to travel. Relatives pay mutual visits, and marriageable young men go 
to the Nuers and Dinkas with spears, wire, stuffs and dura, which they exchange for sheep and calves. 

Fishing is precariously carried out in shallow waters, either by spearing (horizontally, with bow-shaped fishing 
spears) or by pouncing on the fish with hemispherical wicker traps somewhat like lobster pots. Neither nets nor fishing 
lines appear to be used. Hippopotamus hunting is done by combined parties in canoes or dug-outs, harpooning the 
hippopotamus and despatching him with spears when he comes to the surface to breathe. These animals, it may be 
remarked in passing, are very savage, doing much harm on the land and gratuitously attacking canoes, etc., in the water. 

From January to April the climate is not bad, though April is the warmest month of the year. June to September 
constitutes the rainy season,* and from October to December the country is flooded with water ; but the marshes and 

* Total rainfall at Kodok, January-October, 1904, was 19-4 inches. 



2 P 



with the 

Arab and 





khoTs all dry up by April. From November to April the climate, though certainly not perfect, has little effect on 
a healthy constitution, provided good food, water, clothing, and a house are available. October is perhaps the worst 
month of the year. 

The Shilluks do not, as a rule, agree well with the Dinkas, and there are big contrasts between the two races. The 
Dinka possesses many cattle and prepares his food with milk, whilst the Shilluk has only a few cattle and sprinkles 
his food with the dust obtained from drying and grinding dura stalks ; for this he is despised by the Dinka. 

Taken on the whole, the Dinkas are much more intelligent than the Shilluks. When Shilluk boys are unable to 
find a reply to the pointed remarks of a Dinka boy, they raise their sticks threateningly and say " The Dinka boy 
has a sharp tongue and must be flogged till he is quiet," which generally stops the rather vulgar expressions used by 
Dinka boys. 

The Dinkas are said to have formerly lived on the right bank of the low?r Sobat, but were driven inland by the 

Incited by a few Arabs, the Shilluks in former times used to raid the Dinkas and carry away their women and cattle. 
They however live peaceably now, thanks to the fear they have of the new Government. The two races now and then 
pay mutual visits, and also intermarry occasionally ; a certain amount of trade is carried on between them. 

There are a few Selim Baggara in the neighbourhood of Kaka, but these people appear to visit the district only 
after the harvest to purchase dura from the Shilluks, which they are too indolent to cultivate themselves. 

The Kenana Arabs, under Sheikh Faki Hamed, occupy, though they are not allowed to monopolise, the wells 
at Atara. They are disliked by the Shilluks on account of their dirty habits. 

Another branch of the Kenana Arabs occupy a village close to Fadiang. This branch of the tribe dwells in 60 
domiciles. Fama (Sheikh Yogagieb Wad Awell), a sub-district of Nyagir, contains a mixed population of Nubawis 
and Shilluks ; the former cultivate dura largely. They were originally driven into this district by the Khalifa's people 
when the latter were at Fungor, and under the Sheikh Nail they inhabit five villages, consisting of 104 domiciles, and 
are subject to the Shilluk Sheikh Yogagieb Wad Awel. In Fama there is also a Gowama Arab village of 40 dwellings, 
under Sheikh Abu El Gasim, who collected these people at Taiara on the approach of the Khalifa, and permanently 
settled them in his present village. The list of immigrants to Fama district is completed by the mention of the Hawaznia 
Arabs, under Sheikh Abu El Wahab Walad Handigai. From their own account they are fearless hunters of the elephant. 

A sprinkling of Kenana Arabs is to be found temporarily living in villages as far south as Dusim, and a family or 
two of Felata hail from Jebel Eliri, but these are not permanent residents. 

Since time immemorial the Shilluk nation has been governed by a Mek or King, and the list of reigning monarchs 
since the beginning is known to every well-educated Shilluk {vide p. 1!)9). For administrative purposes the country 
has been divided for a long time into two provinces, that of Gerr (sub-divided into Kaka, or Moama, and Kodok). 
which extends to Bol (inclusive), and that of Loak, which extends from Fadiet (south of Bol) to Tonga and Lake No. 
Each of the three districts is under a head sheikh, residing in Oriang, Debalo, and Nyabanjo respectively, and the whole 
is subject to a mek or king, elected in a ceremonious manner by all the headmen of the sub-districts. 

Up till the last representative, Kur Wad Nedok, the meks had supreme power, which appears to have been wielded 
in a somewhat arbitrary manner. Wad Nedok was deposed in the spring of 1903 for numerous malpractices, and his 
successor, Fadiet Wad Kwad Keir, is now limited in power, and is subservient in most things to the Governor of 
the Upper Nile Province, a British officer resident in the town of Kodok. (Vide Chap. I, p. 2). 

For administration the country is still further divided into two provinces, the northern and southern, containing 
29 districts altogether ; the principal ones are :^ 

Northern Province. 

Nanir- of District. 

Name (if He id Slieikli. 

Golo . . 

Name of District. 

Southern Province. 

Kudyit Wad Edor. 
Deng Wad Aiwol. 

Name of Head Sheikh. 

Tonga . . 

Lual Wad Agok. 
Amailek Wad Amosh. 
Yang Jok. 

A good track exists on either bank from Delal, south of Kaka, to Fennikang, south of Taufikia. South of this 
again many villages can be reached only by crossing deep khors which are filled with water all the year round. The 

Shilluks. 197 

Lolle river, nearly 200 yards wide thoughout, flows past the villages of the districts Tonga and Fennikang. South of the 
Sobat mouth, a branch of the White Nile flows close to the villages of Dusim, Tuara, Oashi, Awarajok, and Fannidwai, 
and emerges into the main stream at a village named Warajok, where the telegraph cable crosses the river. This stream 
is about 13 feet deep throughout. It is known to old native navigators as the Bahr El Harami ; sailing boats with 
contraband used to take this course in preference to passing the Government station of Tauiikia. 

There is little game in the thickly inhabited Shilluk country itself. A little way inland, however, elephant, lion, Game, 
antelope, etc., are plentiful, and more especially is this the case near the river towards Lake No. The neighbourhood 
of Kaka and north of it is also a grand game country. 


History and Religion of the Shilluks. 

In the beginning was Jo-uk, the Great Creator, and he created a great white cow, who came up out of the Nile and 
was called Deung Adok. The white cow gave birth to a man-child whom she nursed and named Kola (Kollo) ; Kola 
begat Umak Ra or Omaro, who begat Makwa or Wad Maul, who begat Ukwa. These people lived in a far off country, 
nobody knows where. (Bahr El Ghazal (?), Jur tribe (?) according to Hnguistic links). 

Ukwa was one day sitting near the river when he saw two lovely maidens with long hair rise out of the river and 
play about in the shallows. He saw them many times after that, but they would have nothing to do with him and 
merely laughed at him. It should be mentioned that their lower extremities were like those of a crocodile. 

One day Ukwa found them sitting on the banks, so he came up behind and seized them. Their screams brought 
their father, Ud Diljil, out of the river, to see what was the matter. Ud Diljil, whose right side was green in colour 
and in form like a crocodile, whilst his left side was that of a man, protested mildly, but allowed Ukwa to take away 
his daughters and wed them, merely giving vent to a series of incorrect prophecies regarding them. 

Nik-kieya, the elder sister, gave birth to two sons and three daughters, and Ung-wad, the younger, to one son 
only, named Ju, or Bworo. The eldest son of Nik-kieya was named Nyakang (Nik-kang or Nyakam) and inherited 
the pleasing crocodilian attributes of his mother and grandfather. Meanwhile Ukwa married a third wife, whose eldest 
child, a son, was named Duwat. 

On Ukwa's death there was a furious quarrel between Nyakang and Duwat as to who should succeed Ukwa. It 
ended by Nyakang, with his sisters Ad Dui, Ari Umker, and Bun Yung, his brother Umoi and his half-brother Ju, 
acquiring wings and flying away to the south of the Sobat. Here they found the Shilluk country inhabited by wicked 
Arabs, so they drove them out and founded a most successful kingdom. According to their genealogy this would have 
been about 120;j a.d., or later. 

Nyakang had a creative power which he used greatly to the advantage of the kingdom. In order to people the 
vast territory more quickly, he proceeded to create a people from the animal life he found in the forests and rivers. 
From crocodiles and hippopotami, and from wild beasts and cattle, he created men and women. When these had 
brought forth many children, the parent stock was removed by death, so that the children might not know of their 

The new creation and their offspring form the Shulla race or common people, in distinction from the direct 
descendants of Nyakang's family. The latter continue to bear authority and fill the priestly function to this day. All 
outside the royal and priestly line are accounted Shullas. 

Nik-kieya still exists. She never died and never will. The western part of the Sobat and part of the White Nile 
near there is her favourite abode. She often appears, usually in the form of a crocodile, but at times in different forms 
and always in the river or on its banks. No sacrifices are ever offered to her. When she wishes, she takes what is 
required from cmo g m^.n and beasts : and when it is so, the people must not complain ; indeed, it is an honour when 
Nik-kieya is pleased to take her sacrifice of man or beast from a family. 

Nik-kieya becomes judge also in certain difficult cases, it is said, particularly in cases of illegitimate children. When 
the man accused denies fatherhood, the case is turned over to Nik-kieya. The disputants are taken to the river bank, 
and along with them a goat. They are then put into the river, and the one that Nik-kieya carries off is judged guilty, 
and he or she is left in the hands of Nik-kieya, to be punished. The beauty of this method is that a consciousness of 
guilt, added to a belief in and fear of Nik-kieya often causes confession, and thus the case is ended. It is not quite 
clear why the goat is taken to the river. It may be to give Nik-kieya a chance for a sacrifice without taking a human 
being, or it may be because a goat tied close to the river will attract crocodile from quite a distance. To Nik-kieya 
are ascribed many wonderful miracles, and it is feared also that in actual practice she becomes a cloak for sin. 

Around this mythical being and her demi-god son are wrapped many superstitions, not the least of which is that 
sacrifices to and the worship of, the great deity Jo-uk, are carried out by the intermediary of Nyakang, the demi-god. 

2 D 2 




SMlluks. 199 

Jo-uk is recognised as the father and source of all life, of evil as well as good. He is treated rather as a deity 
to be feared and propitiated, but he enters into the small relations of life all the same, and most incidents, such as 
death, sickness, going on a journey, etc., are referred to his action. The Shilluks believe that Jo-uk is everywhere, 
and that man when he dies goes to Jo-uk ; but whether an5rthing happens to him in consequence seems doubtful. 

To Jo-uk sacrifices are made at least once a year, at the beginning of the rainy season, and much of good and 
evil are attributed to him. This sacrifice consists in the slaying of an animal by the priest of each village for the people 
of his village, assembled at the house of the " Nyakang." The animal is slain with a holy spear, and the flesh divided 
among the people, cooked and eaten. Then follows a dance, with much drinking of merissa to make their hearts merry. 
For this sacrifice and dance, which is apparently the sum of their worship, there are especial houses. But in each village 
there is a small temple, similar in structure to the larger one. In this, or more correctly, around this, the elders of the 
people assemble for the transaction of all serious business, and call their gods to witness in all covenants. No village is 
without this small temple, and it is the only building on which any ornamentation is attempted. It is called the 
house of Nyakang, not the house of Jo-uk. 

In cases of illness sacrifices are made to Nyakang. The Shilluks bury their dead inside the confines of their villages 
close to the house where the deceased had lived, killing a bullock at the wake, the horns of which are set up to mark 
the place of interment. 

After Nyakang there have been, including the present one, 26 kings. The following is the list* : — History. 

1. Nyakang. 15. Nyadok. 

2. Dag (Dok). , 16. Akwot. 

3. Odage. 17. Ababdo. 

4. Kudit. 18. Awin. 

5. Dokodo (Dakkode). 19. Akoj. 

6. Boj (Boiwi). 20. Nedok (Nyadok). 

7. Tugo (Tuka). 21. Kwad Keir (Kwat Ki). 

8. Nya Dwai (Nya dwi). 22. Ajang (Ajung). 

9. Nya Ababdo. 23. Gwin Kun (Kwoe Kon). 

10. Muko (Mu Kao). 24. Yor Adodit (Yur). 

11. Nya To (Nya Ta). 25. Akol. 

12. Nyakong (Nik Kang). 26. Kur Wad Nedok. 

13. Okun (Ukon). 27. Fadiet Wad Kwad Keir. 

14. Nya Gwatse (Nkwaji). 

Kur Wad Nedok was appointed king by the Dervishes as a reward, it is said, for betraying Mek Yor Adodit to 
them. During Kur's absence in Omdurman, Akol was appointed mek by the Shilluks. Ak Kwo Kwan, son of Akol, 
is a pretender to the throne, but has few adherents. 

It is related that all kings from Dag to Nyadok were killed by the Shilluks. Kwad Keir, Ajang, and Gwin Kun 
fell by the hand of the " Turks." Yor fell in fight with the Dervishes. Kur abdicated. Akol is dead ; he is said to 
have been shot by the Dervishes. The descendants of the kings are called" Gwared," in contrast with the ordinary 
Shilluks, who are called " Ororo." The royal descendants form the upper class, while the Oroko are at the beck and 
call of the kings. 

The idea of kingship is implanted wherever the Gwared exist, and the latter are numerous. It is, therefore, not 
easy to exterminate the idea of royalty. 

Royalty in this country is royalty, both by selection and inheritance at the same time. It is so by selection because 
the leading men of the country select the king from a variety of claimants, and by right of inheritance, inasmuch as 
only sons of kings are entitled to ascend the throne. 

The right of accession to the throne is acknowledged as belonging primarily to the sons of the late king. 

* From Fatlier Banholzer's memo. The Rev. J. K. Giflfen gives an almost identical list, and includes an extra king. village scene. 




This district readily lends itself to division for description into three sections, viz. : — 

1.— Desert west of the Nile, north and west of Wadi El Gab, including Arbain road (for detailed report of which 
vHe Appendix. III, Vol. II.). 
2.— Wadi El Gab. 
3. — Bayuda Desert. 

Section 1. — Desert West of Nile, North and West of Wadi El Gab. 

The country west of the Nile from Haifa to Kerma merits little description. Desert of the most arid description 
comes down close to the banks of the river, west of which all is uninhabited and waterless, with the exception of the 
few oases, for as far as is known upwards of 300 to 400 miles. The desert itself varies from hard, often stony sand 
or gravel-covered plains, to undulating moving sand dunes and rocky hills of lime, granite, or basalt. Remains of 
petrified forests are occasionally met. The amount of mineral wealth discovered in this inhospitable region is not yet 
definitely known. 

Here and there a very limited amount of vegetation is met, at some spot where the water of one of the rare rain- 
storms that pass over this district has chanced to collect, but more often one may travel for miles and miles over country 
devoid of any vestige of animal or vegetable life. 

The whole of this desert region, including the wells and oases, is uninhabited. It is, however, visited occasionally 
by roving bands of Hawawir and Kababish in search of natron or wild dates, as also by raiding parties of the Bedaiat, 
a tribe living to the north of Darfur, who only recently drove off camels grazing within 80 miles of Dongola. 

The following is an extract from a report by Captain H. Hodgson, February, 1903, descriptive of the country 
west of the Wadi El Gab. 

'' Beyond the limits of the Wadi El Gab, on the western side, there seems to be a belt of country in which water 
is easily found, but is undrinkable. Of the two water pans I have tried, namely Murrat and Butta, the one is very bitter 
and the other has a distinct smell of sulphuretted hydrogen — Arabs use these waters medicinally as purgatives. 

" I reached and ascended the plateau of Jebel Abiad at what I reckon, roughly, to be 100 miles west from the river Jebel Aliiad. 
at Khandak. In 1!)01 I found the northern extremity of this range to be 98 miles from the river at Dongola. It is, 
on the eastern side, a high steep bluff, exposing the white rock (gypsum) from which it gets its name. It extends 
continuously from where I stood, both north and south, as far as the horizon. 

" The surface of the plateau is shingle and sand ; it slopes gently down on the western side. 

"I reached the Natrun valley on the 31st January. It is not literally a valley, but an undulating plain Wadi 
stretching south and south-west as far as the horizon. From south-east to north-east it is bounded by a Natnin. 
high range of steep hilh of black rock ; from north-east to north-west by high broken rocky ground with 
isolated conical hills ; to the west, by low gravel hills. On the distant horizon, north-west, is a high range of hills. 
Close under the bluff on the eastern side of the plain are two thickets of selem bushes, growing luxuriantly and 
suffering in places from over supply of water. This is very plentiful and near the surface, the sand being brown 
and damp, but it is not the best water in the valley. The southern of these two thickets is called Melani. An 
isolated peak in the northern centre of the plain, called Jebel Kashaf, lies at a bearing of 315° mag. from Melani. 
The best water, called Bir Sultan, lies 3 miles from Melani at a bearing of 278° mag. and due south of Jebel 
Kashaf. On the ground called Bir Sultan (which includes an area of about J square mile, covered with tussocks of 
Haifa grass, etc.), I found three or four pans of good water, the soil below the sand being white clay. There is a small 
clump of date seedlings near the biggest spring. 

202 DeMTt TV. and S. W. of Dongola. 

There is plenty of evidence of natron in the valley, but the place, where most of the digging is done and 
where the thickest seam of natron is reported to be, is 2,400 yards from Jebel Kashaf and to the west of it, at a 
bearing of 310° (mag.). The diggings are in what looks like a dry salt pan left by the sea, except that the sand is 
very red. The method of collecting it is as follows : About 2 to 4 inches depth of sand is cleared away until the natron, 
a substance resembling a yellowish rock salt, is reached ; the top part is usually bad, being half sand. Then there is 
a seam J to 2 inches thick, of good natron, and again below a little bad natron, and then below all sand again. Some- 
times all the natron is spoilt by being mixed with sand. Near the natron diggings is a large thicket of selem bushes, 
and besides this and at Melani, there is a clump of date trees and selem north-east of Jebel Kashaf and another thicket 
of " littel " scrub, besides plenty of halfa, tamam, taklis, and halaf grass etc. A party of 4(X) or 500 camels could 
live some months in the valley on the grazing only. Good shelter can be obtained from the wind, and there are 
plenty of garids etc. to make tukls. Gazelle plentiful. 
Arbiiin " The Arbain road lies along very high land, and anyone traversing the road during the winter months should, 

'"°'*^" if possible, march with the wind, i.e., from north to south. The cold was intense, and the shelter from north wind 

nil, as all hills are steep on the north side and slope gradually away to the south. 

" At Sultan, Lagia, and Selima this is reversed, and the hills are steep on the south side. This change in formation 
accounts probably for the presence of water." 
Game. This desert region is the haunt of the Addax, the rarest of Sudan antelopes. Specimens have been killed near 


WeUs and Oases. 

Sheb-Kakhia Nakhla. — Situated about 80 miles north-west of Haifa. Named after the single date palm overhanging the wells. 

digtrict.* Surrounding the hill on which this date palm stands is a narrow valley about 80 yards wide. Throughout this depression 

water can be obtained at a depth of 3 J to 5 feet. The water is of better quality than that of any of the neighbouring 

wells and is abundant. There is practically no grazing or fuel here ; the latter can be obtained, however, at a distance 

of 2 to 3 miles. 

Hassab El Gabu. — About 10 miles west (?) of Nakhla. This well is situated on the top of a circular sandhill 
30 yards in diameter. Good water is found at a depth of 2 feet, as it may be almost anywhere between Nakhla and 
Sheb. Good grass for camels. 

BiR SuLEiMAT. — 1 1 miles ( ? ) from Nakhla. Good grazing. Water bitter, but plentiful. 

BiR Sederi. — 28 miles from Nakhla. Water bitter. Little grazing. Dom palm covered sandhills 100 yards 
from well. 

El Haad. — 33 miles from Nakhla (direction uncertain). No well, but good grazing on " Haad " grass. 

Sheb. — 40 miles W.S.W. of Nakhla. Is the southernmost water in the Sheb district. Well 4 feet deep and same 
in diameter (October, 1902). Water plentiful, but brackish and aperient. Good grazing and plenty of firewood. This 
is a watering place on the Arbain road. 

Terfaui (I). — About 6 miles north of Sheb, situate in a small oasis in a broad wadi said to lead from the oasis 
of Selima to the Nile by way of Kurkur. This valley is bounded on the west by precipitous sandstone cliffs. There 
is a group of trees here 250 by 300 yards. Good grazing for camels. The water is drinkable. Immediately to the 
west of Terfaui is a pass over which the usual road to the northern oases of Beris, etc., passes. This is usually a 
watering place on the Arbain road. 

Abu Hussein. — About 35 miles north-west of Sheb. Consists of a clump of trees and bush-covered mounds about 
30 feet high. There are three more places exactly similar to Abu Hussein, two being to the eastward and one to the 
west. They are all about 5 miles apart and lie in a general line from east to west. Water may be found at a depth 
of IJ feet at any of them, and here and there between them. Good water and plentiful. Grazing also good. 

Terfaui (II). — 16 miles north-west of Abu Hussein or about 50 miles north-west of Sheb. It consists of small 
mounds of sand covered with long green grass. Water plentiful at depth of 4 to 5 feet, grazing good, consisting 
of tufts of long grass, over an area of about 1 mile by J mile. There used to be three dom palms here, but these 
were burnt down by Captain Ross in 1894 on account of the snakes which infested them. 

Kassaba. — The northernmost well in the Sheb district is at Naseib, 15 miles north of Kassaba. At Kassaba 
the water is not good, but many old wells point to its having been much used in former days. Situated in an open 
plain about 26 miles N.N.W. of Sheb. A watering place on the Arbain road. 

Selima Oasis. — Selima lies on the Arbain road about 78 miles south of Sheb and 55 miles west of the river at 
Sagiet El Abd. Haifa is about 120 miles to the north-east. It is perhaps the most important oasis in the western 

* This ditrtrict is not actually in the Sudan, but owing to its proximity to Haifa, some description of the wells iu it is given here. 

Desert W. mid S. W. of Bowjola. 


desert of the Sudan, as not only must caravans using the Arbain route almost necessarily stop here for water, but its 
dates and salt are probably of considerable value from a commercial point of view. 

Mr. James Currie, who visited this oasis in October, 1901, thus describes it : — 

" A most beautiful place. It would be most difficult to find without a guide, as it is really only a large hole in 
the desert. The descent to it is very steep indeed. There are three wells, a good many date trees, and good grass. 
One sees the remains of an old Christian convent, moderately well preserved, but the point of interest attaching to it 
is that it has apparently been built out of the ruins of something much older, to judge from the inscribed stones 
one notices. There are abundant salt deposits near, and a huge petrified forest, which extends further than I had 
time or inchnation to go." 

Captain H. Hodgson (February, 1903) writes with reference to this oasis : — 


" Besides the old salt workings, which are capable of considerable development, there are some 2,000 fruit-bearmg 
date trees. My estimate may not be very near, but I spent two hours with two other men counting in order to get 
this idea, and in this time counted 685 female trees, and covered only about one third of the ground. The trees are 
uncleaned with very thick undergrowth, and are being ruthlessly hacked in order to enable the Arabs (Hassanab from 
Kosha) to get at the fruit. Dates of the following species were collected : Kulma, Agwa, Barakawi, and Gawa. The 
first and second are both of considerable commercial value : the Agwa trees seem the most numerous." 

TuNDUBi. — For description of this oasis vide Route Report Dongola to Bir Sultan, Vol. 2. The addax is found 
near here. 

Lagia. — Yide Route Report Dongola to Lagia, Vol. 2. 

BiR Sultan. — Firfe Route Report Dongola to Bir Sultan, Vol. 2. 

TuRA.— An oasis said to lie about 1.50 miles south-west of Lagia, which is approximately 160 miles north-west by 

2 E 


IVadi El Gab. 

west from Dongola. Here there is said to be a sulphurous lake about J mile long, known as Tura El Bedai. Water, 
if obtained from holes dug on the margin of the lake, is said to be tolerably sweet and drinkable. There are many wild 
date trees here, for the fruit of which the Kababish and Bedaiat have been long accustomed to fight. 


Abu NaAtna. 
£1 Mungur. 

Abu Baguga. 
Abu Haifa. 




A in El Bir. 



El KwaiH. 


El Guiura. 

El Kur- 


Urn Heilal 
Um Heilal 


Section 2. — Wadi el Gab (Kab). 

The Nwthern Branch of the Wadi El Gab. 

(By Major A. E. Turner, R.A., December, 1884.) 

The northern branch of the Wadi El Gab extends from Hannek to the village of Sawani, 26 miles due west of 
El Ordi, or Kasr Dongola. 

It is a flat tract mostly sandy, but there are many stony plains and occasional rocky hills, as well as plains where 
salt and lime crop to the surface. The natives collect the salt, and carry it to the villages on the Nile, where they 
barter it for grain, etc. There are many wells, and round these wells the straw-built huts are congregated, forming 
villages ; there are numerous, and some very fine, palms, both dom and date, near the wells, and these in some places 
mark the site of deserted villages, where the wells have dried up. 

The people at the present time (1884) have very few camels,* except milch and young. They have sold a great 
many, and a good many are employed by contract between Dongola and Sarras on the west bank. 

The villages are all built near the wells, and in deep reddish sand. 

There is no ground for cultivation whatever, and hardly any grass (halfa or other) ; the trees are palms, acacias 
(the latter very fine and old). 

Leaving Hafir and the Nile, the road leads S.S.W., crossing a plain covered with stones and shingle, with scanty 
mimosa shrubs ; at 9 miles a low ridge is mounted, and the Wadi El Gab is visible with the village of Lagia and its 
palms .5 miles distant. At 13^ miles, the ruins of three old buildings are met, one on the west, two on the south 
side of the road ; one of the latter is a ruined convent or monastery, and its cells are visible. Many of the palms 
are burnt, having been destroyed by their owners who went to join the Mahdia. 4 miles S.S.W. is the village of Abu 
Naama. Seven miles south-west the village of El Mungur, which has two good wells. 

Two miles south-west of El Mungur is the well and village of Abu Baguga, and 1 mile south-west of it that 
of Abu Haifa. 

After going 2 miles S.S.W., the road goes W.S.W., and a f mile further lies, on the east of the road, the village 
of Sarari, now deserted, and that of Dukur on the west, also deserted. At 3 miles further, the deserted village of Ain 
El Bir, a mile from the road on our left (east), and just beyond it a solitary rocky hill called El Kwais. 

At 9 miles the road mounts a ridge, and then descends into a sort of circular basin about 1 mile in diameter, 
surrounded by low hills. On leaving this at 10 miles, I saw the village of Goz El Fugar 1 mile to the left (east), and 
I mile further I arrived at the village of Bayuda, on a sandy hill, with numerous palms; a considerable village. 

After leaving Bayuda, the road goes south by east ; at 1 mile on the right (west) lies the village of El Gumra, 
and 2 miles further, also on the west side, that of Zalia ; at 1\ miles a large expanse, covered with palms and acacias, 
with two good wells, is reached, called El Kurmotai. From this the road goes south-east for 1^ miles to the village 
of Sawani, the sheikh's own village and chief village of the Wadi Gab. Some of the huts are built of mud, but mostly 
of straw. 

Sawfini is a very picturesque village with a large open space on the south side, bounded on three sides by trees, 
and on the fourth side lies the village. 

The road to Dongola is due east ; after 2 miles a low range of hills is crossed, at the east foot of which lies the 
small village of Um Heilal, at ^ mile further, a flat plain with much lime; at 4i miles (2 miles further), another village, 
called also Um Heilal, on the north side, and 1 mile from the road is passed ; a mile further, rocky ground is reached, 
wmch gradually rises, and 1 mile further the Wadi Gab ceases, and the road goes over bare, rocky, and broken ground 
to Dongola. The latter is 20 miles from Sawani. 

The wells are very good, the water is, as a rule, near the surface, and the wells are lined with stone ; the depth 
of water did not appear to be more than a few feet. 

The sheikh told me that there is no settlement of his branch of the Kababish tribe south of Khandak, and that 
all is desert between that end of his valley (wadi) near Khandak to within a day's march of Debba. 

'*' This remark applies equally now (1903). 

Wadi El Gab. 


Names of places. 

Distance in miles. 





El Muiigur 







On the Nile. 

The road is in a S.S.W. direction, and is over a plain mostly covered with shiugle 
and a few mimosa shrub.s. At 9 miles, a ridge is monnted, whence the Wadi EI 
Gab is visible. At 12 miles, the valley is reached; and at 14, the village of Lagia. 

The road is S.E. for 7 miles to El Mungur. 

The road goes S.S.W. for 2 miles ; the rest of the way W.S.W. 

The road goes 7 J miles S. by E., then S.E. 

The road due E into Dongola. 



Wadi El Gab. 

{By Col. Colvile, Grenadier Guards, October, 1884.) 

The Wadi El Gab is a sandy khor about 63 miles in length, running through the trough of a broader and rocky 
valley. Its general direction is north-west and south-west. It is inhabited by the Omatto section of the Kababish 
tribe, of which Sheikh Fadl Mula Wad Rekha is the chief. Its most southerly well is Marghum, 30 miles to the west of 
Khaiidak, and its most northerly is said to be 20 miles west of Hafir. Its only productions are wood and dates, both 
of which are plentiful. Its inhabitants do not appear to own any great number of camels ; those to be seen at the 
variou". settlements being mostly milch nagas and their foals. Goats, which feed on the mimosa, are plentiful. 

On leaving the Nile at Bakri the road at first crosses a flat sandy desert, destitute of vegetation ; but after 7 miles 
a district is reached, thickly studded with low mimosa bushes. In the district are several Arab encampments, some 
of them as much as 4 hours' journey from the nearest water. Fifteen miles from Bakri the country becomes more 
undulating, and the surface covered with firm gravel ; and 10 miles further on, a range of hills running north and south 
is reached. Passing through a break in this range, the road follows for 3 miles a valley running nearly at right angles 
to the main one, and then strikes the track running down the Gab to the Abu Gussi-Kordofan road. Passing down a 
sandy valley, dotted with sand dunes, and sparsely studded with low mimosa scrub, the most southerly well, Bir 
Marghum, is reached, 7 miles north of the point where the valley first entered. The well is stone-lined, and the water 
is 20 feet below the surface and 4 feet deep. It is said that the well never runs dry ; the water is good. For the 
next 6 miles the country continues to be scantily covered with low mimosa scrub ; Bir El Ain is then reached, and 
the valley becomes more thickly and heavily wooded, and continues to be studded with fine acacia timber to El Sawani. 
Between El Ain and El Sawani are the following six wells : — 

Abu Haweid. 
El Bab. 
El Harma. 

El Hudden. 
El Huffera. 

They are all lined with stone, and about 4 feet of good water is found in each of them at from 3 to 4 feet below 
the surface. Nine miles beyond El HufEera, El Sawani, the chief settlement of this section of the Kababish, is reached. 
It contains many native huts and four mud dwellings. This well, like all the others (with the exception of El Marghum) 
is marked by a clump of palms. 

The road to El Ordi, after skirting the valley for a few miles in a north-east direction, turns to the east ar.d 
crosses 10 miles of broken rocky ground and low ridges. A tract of undulating ground is then reached, which extends 
to El Ordi. With the exception of small patches of acacia in some of the valleys, this district is wholly devoid of 
vegetation ; it is uninhabited. 

Wadi El Gab. 

(By C'olo7wl A. HmUer, C.B., D.S.O., Movember, 1896.) 

The Gab does not realise expectation, nor fulfil the descriptions given of it. The hand and sand of destruction 
is everywhere visible. The wind, blowmg prevalently north or north-west, rolls the sand along, the sand catches in the 

2 E 2 

206 Wadi El Gab. 

tamarisk bushes, in the roots and undergrowth of the palms, date and dom, till it piles over the bushes, and reaches 
towards the top of the palms or smothers them. The whole place has the appearance of a forest after a heavy storm : 
trees Iving prone in all directions, but no effort is made at replanting or replacing. A few seedlings struggle into existence 
now and then. The sand moves on, leaving the palms crippled or dead. I have heard so much of the vegetation and 
grazing, and date trees, verdure, luxuriance, etc., of the Wadi El Gab — it never existed. Ruthless, and judging by 
events, not altogether unavoidable, neglect, has diminished the little there ever was. We know it carried a large head of 
camels, goats, and sheep, at least so it was supposed ; but, barring goats and a few donkeys, the herds of the Kababish 
had to roam " for forty days in the wilderness " towards Darfur and Kordofan, and northwards to abreast Mahass 
and Sukkot, for their food. Water is found at from 12 to 20 feet below the surface ; the Gab averages about .5 miles 
in breadth, patches of grass and thorn bush crop up at intervals, separated by rolling hills of rock and sand. Round 
the wells there are the miserable straw huts and mud houses of the tribesmen, with here and there groves of palms ; 
no game to speak of. Gazelle exist in small numbers, and are very afraid of mankind. This is accounted for by the 
fact that the Arabs trap them, and hunt them with dogs, a breed of yellow greyhound. The trap is a round hoop, 
with thin strips of wood tied to the circumference, and the points of the strips meet at the centre, laid so that the 
strips make a slight cone, like the top of a basket. The gazelle browse on the thorn bushes ; close to the bush the Arab 
puts the trap in a little hollow in the sand, cone downwards, places on the rim of the trap a running noose, to the 
other end of which is fastened a billet of wood. The whole is covered over with sand. The gazelle comes to feed off 
the sprouts of the bush ; puts his foot into the noose ; his foot slides through the apex of the spines of split wood ; 
he kicks to free his foot, and so the noose tightens on his leg, and there he is, with a rope tied to his leg ; he cannot 
kick off the rope, for the billet of wood drags the knot tight, and the trap prevents it slipping down, and the Arab then 
appears with his dogs, and chases the animal down. 

Twelve miles west of Shemsi is Wadi El Butta, very much like the Gab in appearance. Addax and wild sheep 
are said occasionally to come here in summer. Water is near the surface, and is got by the animals by scraping. 
A curious feature is the occurrence over the whole face of the desert of patches of succulent plants and grasses which 
serve as food for camels and for goats. 

Sawani to Bayiida, 9 miles. El Bab to Haweiya, 9^ miles. 

At Haweiya, or Haweid, a number of wells, also at El Bab. They are part and parcel of one place. 

Rode to El Marghum, the post occupied by the old Sheb post. I asked about these wells in the Gab, and got 
always the same answer. Those existing were dug by their ancestors, so long ago no one remembers, and ever since 
no one has been to the trouble to dig or explore for anything fresh. Well here deep, 18 or 20 feet, and stone 

The Wadi El Gab. 

{Sir W. Garstin, G.C.M.G., AprU, 1897.) 

No account of the Dongola province would be complete without some mention of this great depression which 
extends through the Western Desert from Hafir to Debba, a distance of some 125 miles. It is chiefly inhabited by 
the Kababish tribe of Arabs, who use it for grazing their flocks ; and it contains numerous wells. 

It has been thought that this depression might possibly be utilised as a storage reservoir or as a means for escaping 
the surplus water in an excessive flood. It is very doubtful whether it could thus be made use of. The wadi appears 
really to come to an end a few miles north of Hafir, and the nearest point to the river to be at a distance of some 
10 miles. 

The lowest portions of the Wadi El Gab must be considerably lower than the level of the river in flood, but by 
how mu( h it is impossible, without levels, to say. 

On leaving the Nile, in the direction of this valley, the country rises rapidly for some 4 miles. It then begins 
to fall away from the river, in a succession of terraces, until a total of about 10 miles have been traversed. The real 
edge of the wadi then commences. Its width at the northern end appears to be about 5 miles. The western edge 
is filled up with drift sand, which is gradually covering the palm trees. A well, measured at the Oasis of Lagia, showed 
the water level to be some 9 feet below the ground surface. The water was sweet and of good quality. 

It would be useful to have the whole of this depression carefully levelled and surveyed. The area covered by 
it is very large, and supposing it were possible to fill it with water, the loss from evaporation would certainly be very 

Bayvda Dessert. 207 

Section 3. — " Bayuda Desekt." 

The tract of country north of Kordofan, i.e., north of N. lat. 16° (approximately), bounded on the north and east Geueral. 
by the Nile and on the west by the Wadi Melh has been called the Bayuda Desert, though this name is not applied to 
it by the Arabs. 

It is inhabited by nomad Arabs, viz., on the east by the Kababish, chiefly the Omatto section under Sheikh Fadl Inhabitants. 
Mula Wad Rekha ; in the centre by the Hawawir, of which the Sauarab is the most important sub-tribe, under Sheikh 
Hassan Khalifa ; and on the east by the Hassania, whose headquarters are at Jebel Gilif and Jakdul. In the extreme 
north, in the angle formed by the bend of the Nile, are the Monasir, who are, however, a sedentary tribe. These 
above-mentioned nomads wander a great deal according to the grazing, on the existence or absence of which, in many 
cases, depends the fact of wells being open or not. 


The Arabs cultivate their dura in certain well-known wadis, mostly in the more southern districts, according to Cultivation, 
the rainfall, which is, as a rule, not heavy, and very local, and varies considerably from year to year. 

The W. El Melh is a broad shallow depression, frequently a mile or more in width, having its origin near Um Wadi Melh. 
Badr. It is inhabited here and there by the Kababish. It reaches the Nile at Debba, though it has long since ceased, 
if ever, to discharge water into that river. For further description of this wadi, vide Route Report Dongola to El 
Fasher, Part III. This route is now seldom, if ever, used. Vide also report on El Ein, p. 210. 

The next wadi of importance in this district is the Wadi Mogaddam which has its origin near Bagbag, about Wadi 
f)0 miles south-west of Omdurman, and joins the Nile near Korti after a course of about 200 miles in length- For Mogaddam. 
description of this wadi and the wells, etc., in it, ride Route Report Gabra to Korti, Part III. 

The wells of Gabra in the Wadi Mogaddam, nearly 60 miles north-west of Omdurman, are an important Arab (Jabra. . 
centre, there being many wells and a good deal of cultivation in the neighbourhood. The Arabs are principally 
Kababish, but Geriat and Hassania also come here. Gabra is under the Governor of Khartoum, but the boundaries 
of Dongola, Berber, and Kordofan Provinces are all within a few miles of it. 


Bayiula Desert. 








Fofid for 


Route from 

Communications throughout this district are bad owing to scarcity of water. The principal trade routes are : — 

(1) Debba-Fasher xm the Wadi Melh (little used). 

(2) Debba-El Obeid vid Amri, Hobagi, and Haraza (used a little during rainy season). 

(3) Debba-El Obeid vid Amri, Elai, and Habisa (longer than (2) but more water). 

(4) Debba to Omdurman* viCi Inderab, Gumr and Gabra (a good deal used). 

(5) Debba to Omdurman vid Elai and Gabra (little used). 

(6) Ambugol and Merowe to Shendi (Metemma) (little used). 

(7) Merowe to Berber vid Sani (a good deal used). 

(8) Merowe to Omdurman* rid Hamboti and Wadi Bishara. 

(9) Gabra to Korti (little used). 

All the above routes except No. 8 are described in the route reports in Vol. II, and from them some idea of 
the country may be obtained. The traffic along No. (7) will presumably increase considerably on the completion of 
the Nile-Red Sea Railway. 

{From the Reports of the Surveyiny Parties emjdoyed by Mr. G. Kilgour and Mr. Fowler, C.E., 

1871-72, and other Sources.) 

The track across the Bayuda Desert, from Ambugol to Shendi, is comparatively easy going, and is fairly well supplied 
with water ; but not being a main trade route, it is little used by caravans. 

There are no difficult defiles or passes. 

The tract of country traversed consists of extensive plains divided by ranges of low hills. It is very unlike the 
sterile and rocky deserts further north, and in many places shows abundant signs of vegetation. Wadis, pastures of 
long coarse grass, and many clusters of tiees are met with, whilst, during the rainy season, the ground is susceptible 
of profitable cultivation in some parts. 

This route is just within the limits of the tropical rains. The wet season lasts from May to August, but rain never 
falls for more than 15 days in any year. Sometimes there is no rain for two consecutive years. 

There are no streams, the water sinking into the sand and disappearing within 24 hours after rain has fallen. 

During exceptionally hot days small whirlwinds pass in great numbers, and carry across the desert sand and fine 
debris in columns upwards of 150 feet in height. They have a formidable appearance, but are really almost harmless. 
A very large one might upset a tent, but this performance represents their maximum effect. 

The Bayuda Desert is inhabited merely by wandering Arab tribes, of whom the principal are the Hawawir, Hassania, 
the Sauarab, the Fadnia, and the Aonia. 

They subsist almost entirely by keeping flocks of sheep and goats, and by breeding camels, wandering from spot 
to spot to the best herbage, at such distance from the wells as enables them to water their animals. They also trap 
the gazelle — so plentiful in this desert ; and after the rains a certain amount of ground is usually cultivated by them, 
and small crops are obtained. 

About 4 miles above Ambugol the wadi (valley or stream course) Abu Gir debouches into the Nile ; this wadi takes 
its rise in the Jebel Gilif about 70 miles from the Nile ; water is obtainable from shallow wells along its entire course 
in its bed ; like most of the lower portions of the Bayuda Desert, it is thickly covered with vegetation. 

This consists principally of low " samr " bushes (spreading thorny acacia), occasional " sunt " trees (acacia arabica, 
20 to 25 feet high), the milk plant (asdepia gigantea), the " marakh " (a green shrub), the " tundub " (a bush, some 
15 feet high,), and " heglig " trees (20 to 25 feet high, and often with a diameter of trunk at 5 feet from 
the ground of 12 to 15 inches), the " mokert " (sattadora persica), and even occasionally the " dom " palm (hypwne 
thebaica), of which the " dom " palm, the " usher," and " marakh " are indicative of water close to the surface. 

Best suited for firewood are the " sunt," the " samr," the " tundub," and the " heglig," the wood of the latter, 
I may mention, being used as the base on which the natives twirl a dry piece of " samr " root with the object of 
producing fire. 

Camels devour eagerly the younger branches of the " samr," the succulent leaves of the marakh camel thorn 
and el gau (camel grass), both of the last-mentioned being plentiful in the Bayuda ; indeed, this is a favourite district 
for breeding and rearing hagins (the lighter and faster class of camels). 

Sheep, of which large flocks are owned by the Hassania, Aonia, and other wandering Bedawi tribes of the Bayuda, 
find, during the dry season even, ample food in the grasses of the plains near Jebel Gilif ; whilst the fresher shoots 
of the marakh and tundub, with the juicy leaves of the usher, provide sustenance for the goats. 

The readiest route from Ambugol is to strike for the desert close to the town, whence an easy slope, some 2 miles 
in length, rises to the desert plateau, here some 50 feet above the Nile bank. A shingly level plain is then traversed 
* Cost of camel transport hy this route iraries from 65 P. T. to 75 P.T. per kantar. 

Bayuda Desert. 


for about 3 miles, when the Wadi Abu Gir is struck, leading right up to Jebel Gilif, with an ascent of about 10 feet 
per mile. 

The route now skirts the hill Jebel Abu Shenkawi, near to the salt diggings, and passing another clump of hills, 
Debba El Kebir, joins another camel route from the Nile at a point some 300 miles from Ambugol, where the Wadi 
Mofokakart debouches into the Wadi Abu Gir. 

This other camel track, after leaving Ambugol, follows the Nile to near Korti, a distance of some 4 miles, then, 
turning sharply to the right, passes by the Wadi Um Marra, and crossing the ridge of Nasaib El Ruchan, 
at a point some 300 feet above Ambugol, descends over rather broken ground to the Wadi Abu Gir, and from this 
point there is but one route. At about 37 miles from Ambugol the first wells are met ; these are merely holes 
scooped in the sand, deepened as the subterranean waters fall, until either the sides fall in, or the whole of the excava- 
tions are obliterated by the rush of water down the wadi during the rainy season. 

The water is drawn from these, and all similar wells in the Bayuda, by means of a rude skin bag ; it is then poured 
into earth cisterns, on the surface, at which the camels, sheep etc., drink. It is so pure that a small quantity of salt, 
fairly plentiful in this desert, is mixed with it. 

The wadi at this point, about 38 miles from Ambugol, which has hitherto been flat and sandy, with gently sloping 
sides, becomes much broken. Small metamorphic ridges, hills, and lava-like mounds close in, and petrified wood 
is strewn in all directions, showing that the belt of metamorphic rock that intervenes between the lower Nubian sand- 
stone and the extensive granite rocks is being traversed. 

About 55 miles from Ambugol are the wells of El Haweiyat, of similar character to those described above ; the plain 
of El Rechewa is left on the right, and quitting the Wadi Abu Gir, which turns abruptly to the left, the route crosses 
a curious plain, about 3 to 4 miles wide, called El Mesalima. This plain is surrounded by low hills, and without vegetation ; 
it is intersected by veins of mountain limestone, much resembling marble, and I here found fossil remains of the Saurian 

Leaving El Mesalima, the route now crosses the plain at the southern foot of the Jebel Gilif, passing across water- 
courses which, in the rainy season, carry off the drainage from the mountains. These streams issue from wild gorges, 
and are said to drain extensive plains, 20 or 30 miles distant ; a statement corroborated by the fact that they bring 
with them much brushwood and small timber. 

After issuing from the gorges these streams wander at will, cutting constant new channels over an irregular talus 
of boulders and debris they bring with them ; at the foot of this talus, they collect and run down defined sandy channels 
from 1 to 3 miles long, whose permanent character is proved by their tree-covered banks ; these large channels then 
break up into a number of smaller diverging channels, which lose themselves in a grass-covered plain to the south, 
fairly covered with trees and brushwood, and about 8 miles across ; this plain is said to be covered with water during 
the rains to a depth of 3 or 4 feet. 

Water may be procured in any of these sandy channels by digging holes as described above ; and at Abu Haifa, 
about 90 miles from Ambugol, are large wells of this description, at which large numbers of camels and flocks are daily 

After passing numerous pools of water still standing in basins worn out of the granite bed, the gorge, at a distance 
of some 7 or 8 miles from the entrance, widened out into a valley about | mile across ; here there was a small lake, 
the edges fringed with bulrushes and dom palms, whilst the native huts, flocks, and even birds and conies showed the 
permanent character of the lake. I heard that many similar lakes exist in the recess of the Jebel Gilif, but the Arabs 
are extremely reticent on this point. 

At about 79 miles from Ambugol the Jebel Gilif range, with its uniform precipitous face, breaks up into outlying 
spurs with intermediate plains. In one of these spurs, about 2 miles to the north of the route and 100 miles from Ambugol, 
are situate the wells of Jakdul ; these consist of water- worn basins in the bottom of a granite gorge of similar character 
to those mentioned above. The largest of the pools is some GO yards long and 10 yards broad, and it is stated never 
to have run dry. 

The water is sweet, but the lower pools are much contaminated by the flocks constantly using them, and the sight 
of thousands of beetles issuing from the water at dusk is not inviting. 

The upper pools, however, are much cleaner, and with care an ample supply af excellent water might be ensured. 

No doubt there are many other reservoirs up this gorge as at Abu Haifa. 

To the eastward of the wells of Jakdul, and about 8 miles from the camel track, are the wells of El Faar, 
consisting of holes dug in a sandy water-channel similar to those of the Wadi Abu Gir. 

With Jebel Gilif the granite rocks are left, and the route traverses the upper Nubian sandstone, simple and meta- 
morphic, to the river at Shendi, or rather Metemma. 

Between the 115th and 125th mile the route crosses a belt of drift-sand hills travelling from east to west, these 
are of the usual type, i.e., a crescent presenting its convex side and gentle slope to the wind ; up this slope the sand 

First wells. 

El Haweijat 


Abu Haifa 

Jebel Gilif 


El Faar 

115th to 
125th mile. 


Bayuda Desert. 

Abu Klea or 
Tleh wells. 






Jebel Gilif. 

is driven to the apex, whence, falling over and remaining at its natural angle of repose on the concave side, the hill 
gradually but surely advances, the highest of the sand hills in this locality are about 13 feet high, their rate of progress 
depending entirely on the strength of the wind ; to a camel they are no obstacle as it winds amongst them at will. 

At 150 miles from Ambugol are the wells of Abu Klea, or strictly speaking Abu Tleh (Tleh equals a particular 
kind of grass), artificial pits of similar character to those already described ; the water is good and rarely fails ; they 
require of course frequent cleaning out. 

At Shebakat, near the 168th mile, is a large well about 12 feet in diameter, sunk to a depth of 50 feet through 
the sandstone to a bed of water-bearing gravel ; the water is brackish but the supply perennial. 

At 175 miles from Ambugol, Metemma is reached ; the town is about 1 mile from the Nile, but the plain between 
is occasionally flooded. The water supply is from welh kept up by percolation from the river, and is therefore 

Hence to Khartoum, as stated above, the river is navigable for nearly the entire year, vide Chap. X. 

The rainy season in the Bayuda Desert is uncertain, as this is the extreme northern range of the tropical monsoon ; 
there may be showers in May, but the true rains fall in June, July, or August. Some years may pass without any 
at all, and then a perfect deluge floods the country and refills the pools and wells. 

The conformation of the Jebel Gilif is such, that notwithstanding the large amount of water running off during 
the rains, a considerable quantity is stored at high levels, gradually finding its way into the sand-filled wadis, through 
permeable granite angites and diorites, of which Jebel Gilif is composed. 

These wadis are crossed at intervals by spurs of trap rock, that serve the double purpose of keeping up the level 
of the wadi, which would otherwise rapidly degrade, and of affording, so to speak, " artesian " vents, up which the 
water, confined between the beds of the " Nubian " sandstone below, finds its way into the loose sand above. In 
sinking wells, spots should be selected where the vegetation in the wadis is of a brighter hue, and where heglig 
and the dom palm exist. In December, 1871, water was found in many such places, never more than 15 feet 
below the surface. The trap dyke in the vicinity will provide any quantity of fairly bedded stone with which 
to line the sandy sides of the well ; the way I should suggest, would be, in the first place, to dig through the sand until 
water be reached, and then to excavate the ground in a circle of say, 24 feet diameter, lining it with a dry stone wall 
3 feet in thickness, in this should be built, at intervals, pieces of hard wood, of which there is a large quantity, in order 
to form a rude ladder ; as soon as the water is reached, a Norton's tube pump should be driven some 6 feet or more ; 
this will prevent the accumulation of insect life, to be found in any open pools in the vicinity, and prevent other 
pollution ; then, when this runs dry, the excavation should be again carried down to the lowering water level, and 
a well of internal diameter of 14 feet be built with a dry stone wall of say, 2 feet thick (the word in India for this 
form of well is " butcha "), the Norton tube driven down, and the process repeated as the waters lower. Were it possible 
to procure lime readily, the well might be sunk from the top, as is so habitually done in India, but the only lime- 
stone found in the Bayuda is at the plain of El Mesalima, as mentioned above. 

The stone near these wells, and of which as described above, the supply will be practically unlimited, may be used 
in constructing defensive works, whilst there will be in their neighbourhood large quantities of fuel, and a considerable 
amount of bush that will serve as fodder for the camels. 

A considerable quantity of sheep, milk, etc., may be procured from the neighbouring tribes. 

The Jebel Gilif presents a certain source of danger (during the expedition, 1884) : this consists of, in places, an 
almost precipitous face of some hundreds of feet in height, at the foot is an irregular talus formed by the degradation 
of the face, and by the stones and boulders brought down the "khors " (ravines) with which it is intersected. These 
" khora " are, in many places, near their debouchure from the mountains, very narrow (in places only one camel can 
pass at a time), with steeply precipitous sides, the bottom being of granite rock, polished by the materials carried 
down in the torrents of the rainy season, and in many places half blocked up with boulders and iWn-ix. As these 
" khors " rise to the level of the range they widen out into valleys, well supplied with wood, water, forage, etc., where 
large numbers of men could be kept concealed for a considerable period. 

Itcpoii on El Ein. 

Situation. El Ein is situated about 130 miles from Debba up the Wadi El Melh. The general trend up the wadi is S.S.W. 

At El Ein on the western bank, for some 60 miles northwards and a short distance southwards, is a precipitous 
escarpment of rugged outline, but extremely uniform in height, known as Jebsl Makakush. El Ein is a gorge in this, 
the northern promontory of which is surmounted by a rock of curious shape and is called El Serg. 

There are two places where water is obtainable along the route from Debba to El Ein, one called Mahtul about 
30 miles from Debba has two wells, and the other is Soteir another 30 miles further on. The latter is the better 

El Mil. 211 

water, but the quantity is small. On the arrival of the writer the well had been emptied by watering a troop of camels, 
and his men stated there was not enough water to fill waterskins for from two to three hours. At El Ein there 
is good and abundant water, while grazing may be found almost anywhere along the Wadi El Melh, but from about 
30 miles south of Soteir it lies only along the western side, and is much less abundant than further north. 

The formation at El Ein is a series of undisturbed sedimentary beds lying horizontally, most of which are Geology, 
sandstones or grits. This overlies unconformably a much older series of gneisses and schists which are exposed in 
the lower parts of the Wadi El Melh along the foot of the Makakush escarpment a few miles north of El Ein. 

The sandstone series is continuous all the way to Debba, and extends over very large tracts of the Sudan. 

There are no indications of any mineral deposits of value at El Ein in any of the beds exposed. Mineral 


At several points, especially along the sides and just above the stream-bed, there are natural caves in the sand- Old work- 
stone. For some little distance a very soft underlying bed has been weathered away undermining a harder upper i"gs. 
one, the unsupported portions of which have broken off and fallen, or cracked and bent over, leaving open gashes. 
The general appearance of all this very much resembles that of an ancient shaft nearly filled up with debris, though 
a careful examination leaves no doubt that the phenomena are natural. 

On either side of the gorge about opposite the well is a cluster of ancient houses, while on a hill some way up Ancient 
the gorge and on the south side are some five more. buildings. 

The houses are all of similar design approximately round, and are well built, without mortar, of unhewn stone 
laid in courses ; the walls are about 2 feet thick, and many of the stones are of great size. The doorways of most 
of them face down the valley, but a few are on the opposite side. Many have additional rooms built forming 
segments of circles. 

These buildings are more substantial, and differ in other respects from those usually seen round ancient mines in 
the Sudan. The only implements noted were two crushing stones ; these, however, have not been used for crushing 
quartz (the matrix in which gold usually lies), being of ordinary millstone and not hard enough for that purpose. 
They were in all probabiUty only the usual stones for crushing grain. 

Across the entrance to the gorge is a wall probably originally 6 to 8 feet high, but now in ruins. It is built of 
unhewn stones, fairly well coursed, without mortar. The sides are vertical. This runs across the flat space at the 
entrance to the gorge and a little way up the northern slope. The stream bed lies in a creek some 15 feet below the 
level of the groimd on which the wall stands, and there is no evidence of this waterway ever having been blocked. 

In view of this as well as of the general construction of the wall, it is impossible that the structure was a dam, 
but I should imagine it was probably built for defence, and the gorge was used as a place of refuge against marauding 
bands by a people whose flocks usually grazed in the valley below. 

2 K 




Communicatioiis in the Sudan are carried on by :- 

A. — Railway. 
B.— River. 
C. — Roads. 

D. — Riding and Transport animals. 
E. — Post and telegraph. 


There is no wheeled transport, except a few carts in the larger towns drawn by camels, mules, or oxen, and an 
experimental system of wheeled transport, rough carts drawn by oxen, in the Bahr El Ghazal. 

Motor transport is in an experimental stage, and has only proved a partial success up till now, chiefly owing to 
the generally sandy nature of the ground and the present lack of roads. 

There is a light railway at Khartoum which it is intended to run in conjunction with a tramway at Omdurman. 

[For practical details and hinta regarding Communications in the Sudan, see " Notes for Travellers and Sportsmen in the Sudan " * 
(price PT.5), "Sudan Almanac"* (price PT.5), and "Notes on Outfit for the Sudan" (price PT.2), all obtainable from the 
chief booksellers in Cairo or the Agent-General, Sudan Government, War Office, Cairo. are recommended as being indispensable for intending travellers.] 

Section 1. — Railways. 

To Said Pasha (1860) is due the first idea of connecting the Sudan by railway with Lower Egypt. Mougel Bey Historical, 
reported on the subject, but, owing to the expense involved, the project was abandoned. 

The first attempt at actually laying a railway in the Sudan dates from the time of the Khedive Ismail Pasha. 

After a preliminary study in 1865-66, by Messrs. Walker and Bray, the Khedive sent up, in 1871, Mr. J. Fowler, 
C.E., to settle on the best routes for putting the Sudan into railway communication with civilisation. After some time 
spent in preliminary surveys, Mr. Fowler decided on a line which, starting from Haifa, would run up the eastern Nile 
bank, cross the river about Amara, and roughly follow the left bank to Ambugol. From here it would strike across 
the Bayuda desert, viu Jakdul, to Metemma, cross the river again here, and continue along the right bank to Khartoujn 

From Debba a Une was to be laid direct to El Fasher, capital of Darfur. 

In the Eastern Sudan, meanwhile, a line was to be laid from Suakin, via Sinkat, to cross the Atbara and strike 
the Nile opposite to Khartoum. 

These routes were accurately surveyed, and the railway from Haifa was actually begun and carried along the right 
bank to. about Sarras. It was then abandoned, partly for financial reasons and partly at the desire of General Gordon, 
who considered that the country was not yet ripe for works involving such a considerable outlay. 

During the 1884-85 expedition the railway was continued for some 40 miles, but in consequence of the evacuation 
of the Sudan it was dropped, and the portion beyond Sarras was destroyed by the Dervishes. 

In 1896, when operations became imminent, the Sirdar began laying a line from Korosko southwards, but this 
was soon abandoned, and the original railway was continued in April, 1896, in the direction of Dongola. This line 
was completed after considerable difficulties, as far as its present terminus, Kerma, on 4th April, 1897. 

Tlie main line, striking from Haifa across the desert to Abu Hamed, was commenced on 1st January, 1897, and, 
after a stoppage of 22 days for want of material, reached Abu Hamed, 230 miles, on 31st October, 1897. It was laid 
at the great rate of about a mile a day, the maximum speed for one day being 5,200 yards. The record for 1 month 
was 48 miles ; this was during October, 1897. 

* Brought yearly up to date. 

2 F 



It eventually reached Khartoum North (Halfaya) on the last day of 1899. 

The Suakin-Berber railway was boldly taken in hand during the Suakin expedition in the spring of 1885, but only 
a few miles were laid, and it was then abandoned. 

The route for the future Nile-Red Sea railway has now been decided on and surveyed (1902-03), and the laying 
has been commenced from both ends. 

The present lines from Haifa to Khartoum North and Dongola (Kerma) were laid primarily to supply an army 
in the field ; the route, method of laying, and materials, were all chosen with this object in view. 

Partly as a consequence of this, nearly 50 per cent, of the line is in the desert. 

The main line is 575 miles, and the Kerma line is 203 miles long. 

The gauge of the lines is 3 feet 6 inches, the same as the Cape railways. Single line throughout (except at the 

Goods trains on the Khartoum line have to carry 7,000 gallons of water to enable them to cross the waterless 
desert sections ; this considerably reduces the useful carrying power of the line. 

The Kerma line runs through very rocky country, and has sharp curves and steep gradients. It is liable to wash- 
outs, and,. as its cost is prohibitive in proportion to the traffic receipts, it will be abandoned in December, 1904, and 
the Dongola Province will be later connected to the main line by a branch line to Abu Hamed. 

Khartoum line, steepest gradient 1 in 125 ; sharpest curve 9G0 feet radius. 

Kerma line, steepest gradient, 1 in 50 ; sharpest curve 500 feet radius. 

The Nile-Red Sea line will leave the main line about the mouth of the Atbara, will run up this river to about 
Khor Hudi (15 miles), and then branch off north-eastwards over the desert to Suakin, via Sinkat Pass. It is now in 
course of construction, and should be finished by the summer of 1906. Besides this and the Abu Hamed-Merowe 
branch, which is to be shortly commenced, other projected railway extension is from Omdurman to El Obeid, 
Suakin to Kassala, and Khartoum (N.) to opposite Wad Medani. 


List of Stations. 

Miles from Haifa. 



Haifa (Camp)t ... 
Nos. 1 to 9 

Abu Haniedt 
Abu Dis 


Abu Sillem 


Berber North* 

Berber South 

Suakin Junction .. 


El Damert 



Eabnsliia ... 



El Goz 

Wad Ban Naga 

£1 Meiga 

Jebel Gerri 
Wa<l Ramla 
Kubalab ... 
Khartoum North t 

See pp. 23 and 85 for description. 
„ P- 23 
In desert — these are only loops for crossing trains ; wells at miles 77 (No. 4) and 126 

(No. 6) ; telegraph station at latter, be.sides small shops and engine pit. 
Battlefteld is H miles south of Station. Bath rooms in Station for use of passengers. 
Country between here and Berber little inhabited or cultivated. 

In desert. 

Starting point for desert roads to Suakin and Kassala. 

Line from Suakin will join in here. 
Girder bridge over the Atbara, 1,050 feet long. 

Many villages from here onwards ; much cultivation and cattle. Thick scrub in 
parts ; fertile soil. Chief town of Berber Province. 

Pyramids of Merowe about 3 miles north of Kabushia, about 2j miles east of 

Headquarters of Cavalry. District Headquarters of railway — Southern Section— and 

office of District traffic manager. 
Nagaa temples 23 miles to the S.E. {vide Appendix D). 

Zubeir Pasha's residence (Geili) close by. 

Terminus — on right bank of Blue Nile, opposite Khartoum. 

• Telegraph office in town, 
t „ „ station. 

Haikvai/s ; SteamerB. 


From about 1st April to 15th December there are two expresses each way weekly between Haifa and Khartoum 
North ; one of them has sleeping and dining cars attached with a restaurateur, but the other has only ordinary first, 
second, and third class carriages. 

Passengers travelling by the latter must make their own arrangements for meals ; the first and second class 
carriages have small kitchens in them for the use of passengers' servants. 

From about 15th December to 1st April there are two expresses weekly, each having sleeping and dining cars 
and restaurateur. There are also two local passenger trains each way weekly between Abidia and Khartoum North all 
the year round. 

For fares and freights apply to Agent-General, Sudan Government, Cairo, or Traffic Manager, Haifa. 

Time occupied on journey, Haifa to Khartoum, by passenger trains, 28 hours ; by goods trains, 47 hours. 


List of Stations. 

Miles from 



IJeiu Ilk.-. 



Haifa (Ca7iip)t 

Sai ras 


On liver. 

Ambugol . . . 


In desert ; wells. 



On river. 



On river ; small shed and workshop ; railway strikes south across desert. 



Ill desert. 



Eailway rejoins river. 



On river ; shed and workshops. 

Kerma is about 30 miles north of Dongola. Transport between these two either by steamer, donkey, or camel, 
according to state of river. 

Passenger accommodation on the Kerma line is of a rough description. Rates according to class of vehicles. 

Gross receipts of Sudan Government Railways during 1902, £E. 194,000, of which £E. 103,000 on Government (ieneral. 
account ; in 1903 the receipts were £E. 137, 000. 

Goods trains on both branches run according to the requirements of the traffic, usually one train each way daily. 
For rates, etc., apply Traffic Manager, Haifa. 

Stations are open for receipt of goods from 7.0 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and for delivery of goods from 7.0 a.m. to 5.0 p.m. 

There is a miniature railway in Khartoum used for passengers, etc., but beyond this no light railways have yet Light 
been constructed in the country. There seem to be openings for these towards Kassala, Gedaref, and El Obeid, railways. 
but the time has not yet come. 

Section 2. — River Communications. 

The Sudan freight, passenger, and postal communications are carried out by river from Shellal to Haifa, Kerma 
to Merowe on the Dongola reach, and to stations south of Khartoum by steamers and sailing boats. 

Shellal-Halfa (226 Miles). 

On the Shellal-Halfa reach for this purpose are five stern- wheel steamers, 2 screw tugs, 11 troop barges, 
8 sailing barges (including one of 500 tons carrying capacity), and 44 sailing gayassas belonging to the Sudan Govern- 
ment ; there are also about 1 10 gayassas on hire for carriage of supplies, stores, etc. 

A fast steamer service twice a week for through mails and passengers runs in connection with the Egyptian and 
Sudan railway services. This service is carried out by two steamers. 

A slow service for local mails and passengers and freight also runs twice weekly. 

The steamer passenger service carries private passengers, but no private freight is taken either by Government 
steamers or sailing boats. This is taken by private companies, Messrs. Thos. Cook, etc. 

Arrangements are made to load both ordinary passengers and cargo at North End, Aswan, and for steamers and 
boats to pass through the dam locks. The fast mail steamers start from above {i.e., south of) the dam. 

* This line is to be abolished altogether in December, 1904. 
t Telegraph office. 


Steamers, etc., Service. 






" DoNGOLA Reach " (222 Miles between 3rd and 4th Cataracts). 

On the Dongola reach there are two stern- wheel steamers, two troop barges, and 15 sailing gayassas belonging to 
the Government ; some small nuggars are also being built for the use of districts. 

One steamer is for the use of the Mudir, and the other runs a fortnightly service between Dongola and Merowe 
during low Nile, and from Kerma to Merowe when the river permits. 

The river between Kerma and Dongola is always navigable for lightly-loaded steamers, but when the river is low 
there are one or two dangerous rocky places, and it is not considered advisable to run a regular service. This portion 
is therefore principally navigated by sailing boats during this period. 

Steamers and sailing boats are available for the carriage of private passengers and goods. 

The river is only navigable a short distance upstream of Merowe at certain times of the year. 

Khartoum and South. 

There are three screw and seven stern-wheel armed gun-boats ; the latter being frequently used for transport work. 

The screw boats are kept as station " guard ships " at the southernmost Blue and White Nile posts and at Khartoum. 

In addition to the gunboats there are five stern-wheel steamers and one new paddle steamer of about 100 to 
120 feet long for post, passenger and freight service. For local work or special duty there are four very old paddle steamers 
of Gordon's time, two screw tugs, and four launches, as well as 20 barges capable of carrying troops, animals, and 

A monthly service, 13 days, runs to Gondokoro, the most northerly Nile post of Uganda, leaving Khartoum on 
the 15th, and returning from Gondokoro for the north about the 29th of each month, arriving at Khartoum about 
the 10th. 

This steamer calls at all intermediate stations south of Goz Abu Guma. 

A monthly service (9 days) runs up the Bahr El Ghazal to Wau and Meshra El Rek, or as near as the state of the 
river will allow, leaving Khartoum on the 1st of each month ; starting on the return journey on the 12th, and arriving 
at Khartoum about the 19th. These steamers also call at all intermediate stations south of Goz Abu Guma. 

The weekly service from Khartoum every Tuesday to Goz Abu Guma and intermediate stations, returning on Sun- 
days, is now carried out by the private company below-mentioned. 

A steamer runs occasionally up the Sobat, as required, between the middle of May and end of December. 

A steamer runs twice a day between Omdurman, Khartoum, and Khartoum North. A chain-steam-ferry also con- 
nects Khartoum and Khartoum North. 

The Blue Nile is open for navigation by steamer only for about six months of the year (beginning of June to 
beginning of December), and a fortnightly service leaving Khartoum every alternate Wednesday then runs to Wad 
Medani and back. From there to Roseires a monthly service is maintained. 

The stern-wheel post steamers have each 8 to 10 cabins, and are capable of towing two double-decked troop barges 
each. They can then take 300 or 400 troops each, or about 80 tons of freight. 

A large proportion of the transport of supplies, stores, building materials, etc., is carried in sailing boats (nuggars 
and gayassas), of which the Government owns 125. They arc generally of from 10 to 50 tons carrying capacity each. 

Private passengers and freight are carried by the steamers ; boats and occasionally steamers can be hired when 

Two steamers (stern-wheel) and seven steel barges have been put on the river at and south of Khartoum by a 
private company (The Sudan Development and Exploration Company), and carry passengers and freight. 

The native sailing boat, called nuggar, is found all along the Nile in considerable numbers. It varies in 
size, from a capacity of a few ardebs to that of about 200 ardebs (25 tons). These boats are very strongly built of 
thick hard timber, occasionally half- decked, and fitted with one mast and lateen sails, and very long oars, mostly 
crooked. They are not so high in the bows nor as graceful as the Lower Nile boats (gayassas). They are mostly 
employed in carrying grain or gum. The chief native boat-building yards are at Omdurman, Dueim, and Goz Abu 
Guma, and on the ^lue Nile at Senga. 

Small and cumbrous rafts, rowed by one or two men, are sometimes seen ; these are mostly used for carrying 

The ambach canoe, composed of a thick bundle of that pith-like cane tied together, turned up at the bows, and 
propelled by a paddle, is seen up the White Nile, and in the higher reaches, dug-out canoes, holding from one to six 
men, are used, both for transport and for hunting purposes. 

A still more primitive method of water transport is that of inflated skins, or empty jars with the mouth closed 
by a skin. 

* Liable to alteration. 

Roads and Animals. 217 

Red Sea. 

The Sudan Government owns a steamer of 420 tons, the " Mukhbir," which plies between Suez and Suakin at 
irregular intervals as occasion requires. 

Section .3. — Roads. 

The Sudan is almost entirely flat, except along its eastern frontier and in parts of Southern Kordofan, S. Bahi' 
El Ghazal, and Darfur. Theoretically it should be possible to traverse it from end to end without difficulty, for it is 
almost everywhere good " going " for animals, though not for wheeled transport ; but practically communication is 
everywhere limited by questions of wells and water supply, in many parts by the presence of thick and thorny bush, 
and in some parts by swamps. 

The main cross-country roads (including some leading outside the Sudan) are : — 

1. The Darb El Arbain (40 days' road), between El Fasher (Darfur) and Assiut (Egypt). {Vide Appendix, 
Part III., Vol. 2.) Little used except by occasional smugglers. 

2. Korosko-Abu Hamed. Little used since the railway was built. 

3. Debba-Khartoum. Date caravans, Dongola to Omdurman. 

4. Korti-Metemma. Date caravans, Dongola to Shendi, etc. ' 

5. Berber-Suakin. Will be superseded by railway. 

6. Suakin-Tokar-Kassala. 

7. Berber-Kassala. 

8. Khartoum-Abu Haraz-Gedaref-Kassala. 

9. Omdurman-El Obeid. 

10. El Dueim-El Obeid. Gum caravans 

11. El Obeid-El Fasher. Road to Darfur. 

12. Renk-Jebel Gule-Roseires. Lately opened 

13. Shambe-Rumbek-Tonj-Wau-Deim Zubeir. Bahr El Ghazal supply caravans' road. 

14. El Fasher-Shakka. In Darfur. 

1.5. El Fasher-Abesher. Darfur-Wadai road. (Vide p. 189.) 

16. Kassala-Massawa 

17. Gedaref-Gallabat-Lake Tsana. Trade route from Northern Abyssinia. 

18. Kirin to Melut. Trade route from Eastern Abyssinia (not yet opened). 

19. Gore to Abwong. Ditto. 

See Vol. II for detailed descriptions of roads throughout the Sudan. 

Section 4. — Riding and Transport Animals. 

The animal which is the most suitable for each district of the Sudan naturally varies according to the locality. 
Roughly, it may be said that north of the 12th parallel the camel is the most useful animal. On the hilly slopes of 
the Abyssinian plateau the mule and donkey are indispensable, and these are also employed in the Bahr El 
Ghazal (vide Chap. VII). In Southern Kordofan bulls are used for riding, and a certain amount of stuff is carried on 
pack-oxen ; whilst in the low-lying, as well as in the hilly, districts of the Upper Nile human porterage is employed. 

The horse is bred and used for riding purposes in Southern Kordofan, in parts of the Dongola province, and in Horses, 
the northern part of the Gezira between the White and Blue Niles, but, probably owing to his inability to travel long 
distances without water, is not thickly distributed any where, and a really good one is rarely to be purchased. Some 
Abyssinian ponies and country-breds are to be had near that border, price £E.4 to £E.5. The principal horse-owning 
tribes in the Sudan at present are the Homr and Messeria Baggara in south-west Kordofan. 

The great breeding-grounds of the camel are to be found in the desert between the Nile (north of Berber) and the Camels. 
Red Sea ; and in the Kababish and other country in Southern Dongola, in the Hadendoa country, and in Northern 
Kordofan. In these districts a very fine stamp of camel is produced, much lighter, faster, and better-bred-looking 
than the slow, heavy transport camel of Lower Egypt. 

Thousands of camels are bred in these parts and owned by the various nomadic tribes ; but it is not easy to 
obtain them in large number.*, for the owners are, as a rule, disinclined to sell. 

The camels of the Kababish and neighbouring tribes are fully engaged in the transport of gum and dates, and in 
other parts constitute the sole wealth of their owners, who will not part except at comparatively high prices. 


Posts mid Telegraphs. 



The price varies from £E.9 in the Kassala and Suakin districts to £E.15 in the Dongola province, and fancy prices 
are sometimes paid for particularly good riding camels. 

Average cost of camel hire PT.8 to PT.12 per diem, including baggage saddle, head rope, forage, and attendant. 

Price of native riding saddle (maglufa) £E.2 to £E.5. 

Sudan camels easily carry 350 lbs., and occasionally carry up to 500 lbs. 

Mules are only obtainable from the Abyssinian borderland, chiefly at Gedaref, Gallabat, Roseires, and Itang, 
though, unless plenty of notice is given, not many are obtainable even at these markets. These mules are small, but 
good and hardy, suited to pack transport, though not suitable, owing to their small size and weight, to draught work. 
Price, £E.5 to £E.10. Can carry 150 to 180 lbs. 

Donkeys make excellent transport animals ; they can go longer without water than mules. They are obtainable 
in most parts of the Sudan, price £E.3 to £E.10, or, to hire, PT.5 per diem. The Sudan donkey does for both riding or 
baggage work. The Abyssinian donkey is smaller and cheaper, £E.l^ to £E.3, and better for transport work, especially 
in hilly country, being less liable to sore backs, but he generally permits no one to ride him. Large quantities are 
to be had in Gedaref and Gallabat. Can carry 100 to 150 lbs. 

Pack oxen, occasionally used in Southern Kordofan and the Bahr El Ghazal, can only carry light weights up to 
150 lbs., and are very slow movers. For draught work they have been so far successfully tried in the Bahr El Ghazal. 

Human carriers are only obtainable with difficulty on the Upper Nile and in the Bahr El Ghazal. They carry 
50-lb. loads besides their rations. 

Elephants are still a dream of the future as regards pack and transport work. 

Section 5. — Posts and Telegraphs. 

PoBts. In March, 1897, a Sudan postal service was commenced. The first office opened was at Haifa camp, and following 

in the wake of the Army, offices were opened in the same year at Kerma, Dongola, Korti, and Merowe, and a regular 
bi-weekly mail was established. 

In 1898 offices were opened at various places between Berber and Khartoum, and the postal service was rapidly 
further extended over a great part of the Sudan. In February, 1901, the postal and telegraph services were combined, 
and the head office was transferred from Cairo to Khartoum North, and subsequently in 1902 to Khartoum. 

There are now 26 post offices in the Sudan open to the money order service, and a travelling postmaster issues 
and pays money orders at stations on the Halfa-Kerma Railway. 

There are various other offices open dealing with correspondence, sale of stamps, and ordinary parcel service {vide 

An increasing amount of money passes through the post in the shape of money orders. In 1902, a total of £E. 355,000 
was paid in at Sudan offices by the public for transmission, and a total of £E. 145,000 was paid out. The figures in 
. 1901 were £E.267,500 and £E. 107,700 respectively. 

Mails in the Sudan are carried by railway, steamers, camels, donkeys, or runners, according to the locality. 

Mail services now extend to Gallabat, Roseires, Gondokoro, Meshra El Rek, and Nahud. 

Mails are exchanged weekly with Eritrea at Sabderat. 

(For details of post offices, vide Egyptian Postal Guide, 1904, p. 175.) 
Telcgrapha The telegraph now, besides connecting with Suakin and Kassala, reaches to Gallabat, Taufikia (W. Nile), Roseires, 

and El Obeid. A line from Khartoum through Geteina and Kawa to Goz Abu Guma is now in course of construction, 
and when the Nile-Red Sea Railway is commenced, a telegraph line will be built along it. 

At the beginning of 1!)05 a telegraph line will be laid from Meshra El Rek to Wau, and thence probably rid 
Rumbek to the Bahr El Jebel. Communication between Meshra and Taufikia is to be maintained by oil launches. 

Till 1902 white ants were a great source of annoyance, but since steel bases have been used for telegraph poles 
this has, to a great extent, ceased. Creosoted poles also do not appear to be attacked by them. 

Elephant and giraffe in the more southern districts are, however, likely to continue a somewhat frequent course of 
interruption of communication. 

A reconnaissance was made in April, 1904, south of Taufikia and another from El Obeid to Nahud and Foga with a 
view to further extensions of the wire. In the winter of 1904-05 the line will be laid from Meshra Rek to Wau, but 
there is a great difficulty in connecting with Taufikia. 

There are now 3,074 miles of telegraph line (3,409 miles of wire), and 35 telegraph offices, in the Sudan {vide below). 

Wireless telegraphy has not been lost sight of, but will not be adopted, at any rate, for the present. 

79,.500 private telegrams were forwarded from Sudan offices in 1903, as against 57,700 in 1901 and 66,000 in 1902. 
TelephoueH. A telephone system was established between Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North, with an exchange in the 

Government buildings, Khartoum, in February, 1903. There are at present 45 offices connected to the exchange. 

Posts and i'degraj)hs. 


Instruments and stores have been ordered to extend the system to enable private subscribers in the towns to be 
connected. A sub-exchange at Khartoum North was installed in January, 1904, and another has been ordered for 



Abu Hanied 







El Darner ... 

EI Obeid ... 





Goz Abu Gum.i 

Goz Regeb 


Haifa (Camp) 

Khartoum North 












Khartoum ... 






















No. 6 Station 






























Taufikia (W. Nile) 







Wad Medani 

R — 
































Explanation of the Above Numbers. 
Office admitted to ordinary and registered correspondence, ordinary and insured parcels, inland ordinary and telegraphic money 

orders, and foreign ordinary money orders. 
Office admitted to ordinary and registered correspondence, ordinary parcels, inland ordinary and telegrapliic money orders, and 

foreign ordinary money orders. 
Office aclmitted to ordinary and registered correspondence, and ordinary parcels. 
Office admitted to ordinary and registered correspondence, and ordinary parcels in arrival. 
Office served by travelling post for ordinary and registered correspondence, ordinary parcels, and inland and foreign ordinary 

money orders. 
Rural service for delivery of ordinary and registered correspondence, and ordinary parcels. 
Office admitted to the exchange of parcels not exceeding 3 kilogrammes. 
Telegraph office. 

* For Karkoj. 


Weekly between Haifa, Dongola, and Merowe. 
Twice a week between Haifa, Berber, and Khartoum. 

Weekly between Berber and Suakin. ■ 

Weekly between Berber, Kassala, and Gedaref. | 

Weekly between Suakin and Tokar. 
Weekly between Gedaref and Gallabat. 

Weekly between Khartoum, Dueim, Goz Abu Guma, and El Obeid. 
Fortnightly between Khartoum, Kodok, Taufikia, Kanisa and Meshra El Rek. 

Letters, etc., are taken at their owner's or addressee's risk by an occasional steamer to Gondokoro (Uganda). 
Weekly between Khartoum and Wad Medani. 

Weekly between Wad Medani and Gedaref, Sennar, Senga, and Roseires. 
Weekly between El Obeid and Nahud. 
Fortnightly in Suakin and Kassala. 

All the above mails call at the intermediate postal stations and post offices. 
Fortnightly between Suez and Suakin. 
Fortnightly between Suakin and Aden. 
Weekly between Kassala and Keren for Massaua. 
Closed mails are now exchanged between London and the Sudan. 
Mails for the Sudan are sorted on the mail steamers between Shellal and Haifa. 

N.B.— No mails can be delivered at any other stations than those mentioned as postal stations or post offices 

2 G 




Part II. 




The name of Ethiopia,t or Kush, was applied in ancient times vaguely to the East African interior south of Egypt, 
from about lat. 24° to about lat. 9°. (The name of Nubia, as representing the more northern portion of " Ethiopia," 
say between the 3rd and the 1st Cataracts, does not appear till Roman times, but for convenience sake that portion 
will be so termed in the following account. It was termed Kenset by the Ancient Egyptians.) 

The whole tract was, as we know, for the most part sandy or rocky desert, rich in minerals, interspersed with 
oases, but contained along the course of the Nile a valuable strip of territory; while, south and south-east of the 
point where the Nile receives the Atbara, it spreads out into a broad and fertile region, watered by many streams, 
diversified by hills and woodlands, and of considerable fertility ; of this but little now remains. This ancient 
Ethiopia did not, in all probability, include the present Abyssinia. 

At no time did the whole of this vast tract — 1,000 miles long by 800 or 900 broad — form a single state or monarchy. 
Rather, for the most part, was it divided up among an indefinite number of states, or rather of tribes, some of them 
herdsmen, others hunters or fishermen, very jealous of their independence, and frequently at war one with another. 
Among the various tribes there was a certain community of race, a resemblance of physical type, and a similarity of 
language. Their neighbours, the Egyptians, included them all under a single ethnic name, speaking of their land as 
Ta Kes, Kesh, or Kush, and of the inhabitants as Kashi or Kushi — a term manifestly identical with the Kush of the 
Hebrews. They were a race cognate with the Egyptians, but darker in complexion, and coarser in feature, not by 
any means negroes, but still more clearly allied to the negro than the Egyptians were. Their best representatives 
in modern times are believed to be the Gallas and the like, who are probably their descendants. J 

From the earliest times there appears to have been a constant infiltration from South Arabia into AbyssiniaJ and 
the Eastern Sudan ; indeed, the dynastic Egyptians themselves are believed by some high authorities to have been a 
Semitic tribe which came over from Arabia, landed somewhere about Massaua (?), and proceeded northwards along 
the coast, leaving colonies as it went, till it struck the valley of the Nile vid Kosseir, the Wadi Hammamat, and Kena 
(or Koptos). Here they found the Neolithic " New Race," and exterminated or expelled them (?) ; but it is doubtful 
how far this New Race extended up the Nile valley. 

The earliest mention that we have of the land south of Egypt dates from the time of Snefru (? 3rd or 4th Dynasty), g.^. 4000 (>.) 
who conquered the land of the Negroes, and took captive 7,200 men and women, and 200,000 cattle. 

An inscription of the Fifth Dynasty informs us that King Assa sent one Ba Ur Tettu to the " Land of Ghosts, b c. 3400 (?). 
which is south of the land of the Negroes," to fetch him some Pygmies. The quest was successful, and is confirmed (?) 
by some dwarfish skeletons found in the tombs of that period. 

This would seem to show that there were communications, and possibly even a brisk commerce, between the countries 
at an even earlier date. 

* Authorities :— Acknowledgments to the works of Dr. Ktitlge, Piof. Eawlinson, Mrs. Butcher, etc., as mentioned in Appendix H, 
and to some notes of Mr. Crowfoot, for history up to a.d. 149.3. 

A.D. 14!).3 to 1837.— Col. Stewart, " liejiort on the Sudan, 1883," and various other writers. 
„ 1837 to 1882.— From "Eeporton the Egyptian Provinces of the Sudan." I.D., 1884. 

„ 1882 to date.- -Com|)iled from various authorities, mainly Col. Wingate's works, Intelligence Rrports and 
Publications, i&c. 
t Ethiopia is nowadays considered to mean Abyssinia, and is the word employed by the ruler of that country to denominate 
Ills dominions. 

\ Vidt also Appendix E. 

2 G 2 

222 B.C. 3230— B.C. 1200. 

ac. 3230. In the time of the Sixth Dynasty Una, a high official under Pepi I, raised Sudanese levies, natives and negroes, 

to fight in Eastern Egj-pt and Sinai. He also cleared a canal in the 1st Cataract (of which there are now no traces), 
ac. 32(X». and Nubian chiefs, whom he had fought and conquered five times, brought wood for him. Mer-en-Ra (of Sixth 
Dynasty) sent one Her-Khuf three times to Nubia on trading expeditions, and he returned with ivory, ebony, etc., 
which would seem to show that he had penetrated some distance. He reached Amam, Arerthet, Meskher, Terres, etc., 
but the locality of these places is unknown. At this period the Nehes — negroids of the Sudan — occupied the 
country as far north as Aswan ; some of their tribes were termed the Aam, Wauat, etc., the latter living probably 
near Korosko. 

By the end of the Early Empire, b.c. 2530 (First to Tenth Dynasties), Egyptian armies had certainly advanced 
into the Eastern Sudan. 

In the Eleventh Dynasty there was regidar communication between Egypt and the debateable land of Punt, and 

ac 2500. we are told that one Hennu, in the reign of Seankhka, made a trading expedition thither by sea, via Kosseir, for 

unguents. This is not the place in which to discuss the position of the land of Punt, but it seems probable that it 

lay somewhere in the " horn " of Africa, and was not as far south as the Pungwe or Rhodesia, as some have recently 

tried to prove. 

ac. 2-J60. The next we hear of Nubia is that Amenemhat I (Twelfth Dynasty) conquered the Wauat and Machaiu Nubians, 

ac. 24.30. and then raided the Libyans to the west ; and 30 years later his son, Usertsen I, sent an armed caravan under Ameni 

into Ethiopia and " enlarged the borders of Egypt between the Ist and 3rd Cataracts." 
ac. 2366. The Nubians attacked the quarries at Aswan in the following reign (Usertsen II), but were repelled, and in the 

ac. 232.J. . next generation a serious expedition on a large scale was undertaken by the great Usertsen III. This monarch worked 
through the canal in the 1st Cataract, conquered the " abominable Kash," and at the 2nd Cataract he set a boundary 
ac. 2317. stone. Eight years later he beat the Kash again, and built the great temples and forts of Semna and Kumna, 40 miles 
south of Haifa, to guard the defile of the Nile. He also issued edicts for the prevention of any natives from descending 
the Nile in boats or otherwise, except for the purpose of trade. 
ac. 2300. A few years later Amenemhat III cut a Nile gauge in the rock near Semna, and this is visible to this day. The 

height of the Nile flood is curiously enough, marked as being 26 feet higher than it is now. (This was the monarch 
who also built the Labyrinth in the Fayum.) 

The statues of Sebek Hetep III on Argo Island probably prove that the kings of the Thirteenth Dynasty occupied 
and garrisoned the present province of Dongola ; but for the following 600 years no further records are available 
(Hyksos period). 

During the Eighteenth Dynasty (b.c. 1700 to 1400), Ethiopia was a good deal en evidence. Amssis I invaded 
Nubia, slaughtered the " Anti of Kenset " somewhere south-east of Haifa, and returned ; Amenophis I sent punitive 
expeditions to the Eastern Sudan and took many prisoners ; Thothmes I had a river fight with the Nubians, killed 
their king, and fastened his " vile dead body " to the bows of his boat ; he proceeded as far as Kernia (Tombos) and 
probably beyond, and set up a Viceroy as Prince of Kush ; and two years later he proceeded again thither via the 
canal above-mentioned, clearing it out on his way. A few years afterwards, Thothmes II raided Nubia severely, 
killing all males except " one of the damned sons of the Chief of Kesh," whom he used as a footstool. Under Queen 
Hatshepset* the Nubians paid tribute to Egypt, but revolted against her successor, the great Thothmes III. This 
monarch, however, seems to have crushed them in an expedition through the 1st Cataract, and to have consolidated 
the Egyptian conquests in Ethiopia. 

Amenhotep II, son of Thothmes III, again overran Nubia on a large scale, and his successor, Amenhotep III, 
Bc. 1590. extended the Egyptian frontier to the 4th Cataract and possibly to the Atbara, building a large temple to Ammon 
at Napata, which lay close to Jebel Barkal (the present Merowe) near the foot of the 4th Cataract. 

About this date there was formed a priestly colony at Napata,:|: in close touch with the Egyptian religion, and 
forming a strong link between the two countries. Civilization appears to have greatly increased in the Napata region, 
but the Nubians to the north seem to have remained in a barbaric condition, for we find Rameses I making an expedition 
BC. 133.3. against them, and the great Rameses II forcing them to pay tribute. The father of the latter, however, Seti I, as 
ac. 1360. well as his son, devoted his chief energies in Nubia to erecting temples and works, f and more particularly to digging 
for gold, minerals, and precious stones in the Eastern Desert. Starting from Kubban, opposite Dakka, Rameses II 
dug wells in the Wadi Alagi and other regions and worked gold mines with considerable result. The warlike operations 
II.C. 130(J. in these regions of himself and his successors, Manephtha and Rameses III, seem to have been chiefly confined to beating 
ac. 1200. (^jjg Libyans in the Western Desert. 

Meanwhile the hierarchy of Napata was growing in power. The Ethiopians of this region, a plastic race, adopted 

* This lady sent a large (five-ship) trading; expedition to Punt, and did raunh bu.siness in gold, incense, and gum, in consequence. 
+ e.(f., Abu Simbl, Gerf Hus'ln, Derr, Wadi SebAa, etc. 
X riafe Apjjendix L), p. 311. 













ac. 15(iO. 
ac. 15(X}. 

ac. 1400. 

B.C. 1200— B.C. 800. 


to a considerable extent the Egyptian civilization, worshipped Egyptian gods in Egyptian shrines, and set up inscriptions 
in the hieroglyphic character and in the Egyptian, as well as the Nubian, tongue. Napata and the Nile valley both 
below it and above it, was already half Egyptianised when, on the establishment of the Sheshonk Libyan (Twenty- 
second) Dynasty in Egypt (b.c. 966), the descendants of Herhor of Thebes resolved to quit their native country and remove 
themselves into Ethiopia, where they had reason to expect a welcome. They were probably already connected by 
marriage with some of the leading chiefs of Napata, and their sacerdotal character gave them a great hold on a peculiarly 
superstitious people. Eetaining their priestly office, they became at once Ethiopian monarchs, and High Priests 
of the Temple of Ammon, which Amenhotep III had erected at Napata. Napata, under their government, flourished 
greatly, and acquired a considerable architectural magnificence. Fresh temples were built, in which the worship 
of Egyptian was combined with that of Ethiopian deities ; avenues of sphinxes adorned the approaches to these new 

n.c. i)66. 


shrines ; the practice of burying the members of the royal houses in pyramids was reverted to, and the necropolis 
of Napata recalled the glories of the old necropolis of Memphis. 

Napata was also a place of much wealth. The kingdom whereof it was capital reached southward as far as the 
modern Khartoum, and south-eastwards stretched up to the Abyssinian highlands, including the valleys of the Atbara 
and its tributaries, together with most of the tract between the Atbara and the Blue Nile. This was a region of reputed 
great natural wealth, containing many mines of gold, iron, copper, and salt, abundant woods of date palm, almond trees, 
and ilex, some excellent pasture ground, and much rich meadow land suitable for the growth of dura and other sorts 
of grain. Fish of many kinds and excellent turtle abounded in the Atbara and the other streams, while the geographical 
position was favourable for commerce with the tribes of the interior, who were able to furnish an almost inexhaustible 
supply of ivory, skins, and ostrich feathers. 

In course of time the Napata kingdom extended its sway to Aswan, and even to Thebes. The kings of the Twenty- 

S.C. 9^6-800, 


I1.C. 760— B.C. 566. 

second (Libyan) Djmasty did not attempt to make Egyptian authority felt south of Aswan, and at last the Nubian 

B.C. 7eo-73a opportunity came. In about 734 B.C., Piankhi, King of Napata, seeing the weakened and divided sway of the Twenty- 
third Dynasty, chose a favourable moment in the revolt of Taf Nekht, Prince of Sais and Memphis, swooped down 
on Egypt, assaulted and occupied Memphis, and became master of the country. Bak-en-Renf, sole representative 
of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty, was killed ; the whole of Egypt, with the exception of a portion of the Delta, became 

Ba7»>-667. a province of Ethiopia, and the Twenty-fifth Dynasty was composed of Ethiopian princes. 

These Kings were named Shabaka (Sabaco), Shabataka, and Taharka (Tirhakah), the latter of which trio delivered 

ac. 700. Hezekiah from Sennacherib. He was, however, heavily defeated by Esarheddon, son of the latter, somewhere near 

ac. 67i Tel-el-Kebir, and Egypt was overrun by the Assyrians. 

Fierce fighting continued for the next 20 years between Ethiopia and Assyria over the prostrate body of Egypt, 

B.C. 652. and the latter was reduced to utter ruin. Finally Mi-Ammon-Nut, Prince of Napata, and son (?) of Taharka, partly 

relieved the countrj' from the Assyrians, but he h'ad no successors, and died soon afterwards. 

B.C. 650 ((). Psammetichus I (Twenty-sixth Dynasty), of Libyan descent, finally shook off the Assyrian yoke a few years later. 

His connection with Ethiopia is chiefly confined to the fact that a large number of his troops (200,000 to 240,000, accord- 
ing to ancient authorities — but this number must be grossly over-stated ) quitted him as a protest against the favouritism 

B.a 648 (?). shewn to his foreign (Greek and Lydian) mercenaries, and took service with Ethiopia. Several versions of this story 
exist, but no serious disturbance of the balance of power would seem to have resulted. Herodotus states that they* 

ac 690(?). were given land to the south of Meroe, in the land of the Macrobii (Sennar ?). His descendant Psammetichus II 
appears to have attacked Ethiopia, and it is stated that Nebuchadnezzar II, after beating Necho, the previous king, 
made a fruitless expedition into Nubia. 

B c. .566. 


As far as can be gathered the following kings of Ethiopia succeeded Piankhi between about 730 and 525 B.C. ; little 
is known about them except what is given below : — 

Ra Usr Maat. 



Aspelta, 625 b.c. Killed a colony of raw-meat-eaters at Barkal 

Pankhaluru, before 560 B.C. 

Heru-Sa-Atef, Amen Sa Meri. A great warrior. 560-525 B.C. 

Nastasenen. 535-517 b.c. Ruled over Kenset and the kingdom of Alut (Napata and Soba ?) ; conquered many 

* Referred U> by Herodotus (430 b.c.) a» Automoloi ; their descendants were later known as Sebridee or Sembritse, tee p. 319 for 
an explanation of the story. 

B.C. 525— A. D. 200. 225 

Between the years 625 and 560 the capital seems to have been shifted from Napata to Meroe. The kingdom 
ruled by these monarchs included Aiwa, a place identified with the later Soba on the Blue Nile. The connection 
with Egypt was weakened ; Heru-Sa-Atef found the royal palace at Napata in ruins and restored it ; his successor 
Nastasenen re-visited it and went on a journey of inspection as far north probably as the .3rd Cataract, but Meroe 
was the principal seat of his kingdom. Nastasenen mentions on his inscription five campaigns, apparently against 
the rich pastoral peoples of the Eastern Desert, from whom he captured in all nearly 2,fX)0,000 head of cattle, sheep, 
goats, etc. At Meroe, about 40 miles to the south of the Atbara, at a place now termed Bagarawiya, were built 
temples and pyramids copied from Napata. 

It was in his reign that, according to Herodotus, Cambyses, first king of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty (Persian), 
sent an Embassy into Ethiopia, and on this being received by the natives with jeers, collected a large army and sent 
it south against them. He detached 50,000 men from the army when it arrived at Thebes against Siwa, or more b.c. hTl 
probably Kharga, Oasis, but these were all overwhelmed by a sandstorm and were never heard of again. The 
remainder, ill-supplied with food or transport, marched into a desert on the way south, ate their transport animals, 
and finally began on each other ; the greater part undoubtedly perished of hunger and thirst. It is impossible to trace 
where the disaster happened (Arbain road ?), but it appears not to have been very far south, perhaps no further than 
the latitude of Aswan. The latest critic (Heinrich Schafer) argues from Nastasenen's inscription that Cambyses sent, 
in concert with the desert expedition, another one by river. This latter expedition seems to have reached the 
3rd Cataract, where it was met and defeated by Nastasenen ; this is, however, not yet universally accepted. 
Cambyses is reported to have himself reached the " Island " of Meroe, to have built a town there, and to have 
named it after his sister Meroe, who died there ; but this is certainly a fable. 

Between B.C. 525 and 260 came 11 more kings, but their chronology is more than doubtful, and little is known 
of them beyond their names, which are as follows : — 


Sekheper en Ra, Senka Amen Seken. *^ 

Khuka Ra, Athlenersa (and four other names). 

Kheper ka Ra Amen Netek. 


Amen Arit, Kenthahebit. 

Ankh Ra Ra, Arkenkhernlu. 


Khenem ab Ra, Amenarkneb. 

Kalka, Kaltela. 

Ankh nefer ah Ra, Amen Mer Aser. 

These names are here given for reference in case of future discoveries. 

About .300 B.C. (?), or perhaps earlier, the frontier of Egypt was then fixed at a point about 80 miles south of ac. 300. 

Ark Amen, better known as Ergamenes, who was brought up at the court of Ptolemy II, was a man of some character, 
for besides bmlding a temple at Dakka he set a new fashion in Priest-Kings by refusing to commit suicide at the request b.c. 260. 
of the priests and by executing those who demanded it. 

In the days of Ptolemy V, Nubia caused trouble to Egypt, and the Egyptian king added the country between ^^, 210. 
Aswan and Napata (?) to his possessions, dividing it into 13 districts. 

In later Ptolemaic times the kings of Ethiopia evidently became more negroid, and owned barbaric names ; and 
as time went on, the Kingdom of Meroe seems to have been governed by a series of queens or queen-mothers, bearing 
the title of Candace. Little is known of this period. 

When Egypt became a Roman province, an embassy from Ethiopia arrived at Philae, and the king of the country j,.c. 30. 
near Khartoum was taken under Roman protection. 

Eight years after, a Queen Candace attacked Aswan and routed the Roman garrison there. She was, however, b.c. 22. 
heavily defeated by the Prefect Petronius, who pursued her as far as Napata (?) and destroyed that town, leaving 
Roman garrisons there and near to Dongola. 

In the time of Strabo, who visited Egypt during the government of M\ms Callus, Petronius's successor, Aswan was a.d. 200. 
again the frontier, the Romans having, as he observes, " confined the province of Egypt within its former limits." Philaj 
then belonged " in common to the Egyptians and Ethiopians." This did not, however, prevent the Csesars from 
considering Lower Ethiopia as belonging to them or from adding to the temples already erected there. 

The descendants of the priest-kings of Ethiopia seem to have died out about a.d. 200. 

A.n. 200—560. 

A.D. 896. 

A.D. 330. 

A.D. 451. 

A.D. 400-500. 

A.D. 545. 

A.D. sec. 

Strabo says the Ethiopians above Aswan consisted of the Troglodytae, Blemmyes, Nubse, and Megabari. The 
Megabari and Blemmyes inhabited the Eastern Desert north of Meroe, towards the frontiers of Egypt, and were under 
the dominion of the Ethiopians.* The Ichthyophagit lived on the shore of the Red Sea ; the Troglodyta3, from Berenike 
southwards, between it and the Nile ; and the Nubfe, an " African " nation, were on the left bank, and independent of 
Ethiopia, which country, he states, did not extend north of Haifa. 

From Procopius we learn that in a.d. 296, in the reign of Diocletian, these Nubse, or Nobatae, were brought from 
the Oasis of El Kharga, and given the country above Aswan, on condition of their protecting Egypt against the 
incursion of the Blemmyes. This treaty was annually ratified by a religious sacrifice, according to the rites of the ancient 
Egyptian religion, on the Island of Philse, in which the Roman garrison took part. There are still the remains of the 
wall which Diocletian built across the valley near here ; and, according to some authorities, not venturing to trust 
entirely to the Nubians to defend the Egyptian frontier, he agreed to pay a yearly tribute both to the Nubians and the 

A few years afterwards two young Christians of Tyre, Edesius and Frumentius, were, on their return journey 
by sea from India (?), kidnapped on the coast of Abyssinia. According to their story they became advisers to the widow 
of the king who had captured them, and used all their influence to promote Christianity in the land. They succeeded 
so well that Frumentius, on his return to Alexandria, was consecrated by Bishop Athanasius and returned to Abyssinia, 
where he spent the rest of his life in proselytizing, with excellent results. 

Little or nothing is known of the history of internal or Upper Nubia during these centuries, but the Blemmyes 
continued to give trouble to the Roman rulers of Egypt. They gradually succeeded in occupying the five towns of the 
Commilitium Romanum, making Talmis or Kalabsha their capital, and even penetrated into the Thebaid, where m 
A.D. 451 Maximinus, the general of Marcian, was forced to make a treaty with them for 100 years. But it was soon 
broken by the barbarians. 

In the fifth century the Nubians, whose religion at that time was chiefly limited to star-worship, were gradually 
converted by monks and others of the Alexandrian Church. The first important convert was one Bahriya (?), nephew 
of the king, and he built many churches and monasteries. 

During the sixth century the entire nation adopted Christianity. In a.d. 545 their King Silko defeated the Blemmyes 
and took the already well-known town of (old) Dongola for his capital. 

The Egypto-Roman-Christian remains at NagaaJ, and those of the kingdom of Aiwa, or Soba, then under 
the King of Nubia, may belong to this or even to an earlier period, for there are legends of Christianity having penetrated 
to the Blue Nile in the third century, and St. Mark is reported to have preached in the Sudan, or at all events, in 
" Ethiopia," in the first century, a.d. 1. 

In the days of Justinian there seems to be no doubt that Christianity was the established religion of the whole of 

Ethiopia and Nubia. 

* Query — the ancestors of the present Bisharin and Ababda ? 

t The inhabitants of Elephantine Ishmd, Aswan, were also tluis terme<l in the 6th century ii.c. 

J Vide p. 315. 






After the Arab invasion and conquest of Egypt, Abdalla ibn Said was sent by 'Amr, at the command of Omar, a.d. 6-40. 
with 20,000 men (?) into Nubia. The natives, however, offered a most stubborn defence and fought to the death. Their '^•"- ^•*'* 
bowmen showed particular skill, and although the Moslems were eventually victorious, they judged it expedient 
to retreat across the frontier. The Nubians now exhausted themselves in objectless raids northwards, and irritated 
the Arabs to such a pitch, that ten years afterwards, the same general marched again into the country with the resolute A.r. 6.53. 
purpose of subduing it. 

The result was that Abdalla penetrated as far as (old) Dongola, bombarded the great church there and laid it in 
ruins. King Kalidurat thereupon concluded a friendly treaty with him, the chief clauses of which were that he shoidd 
supply 400 slaves a year, and allow the Mohammedans to build a mosque at Dongola. 

As regards the rest of the Sudan, it is said that between the first and second century after the Mohammedan a.d. 700. 
Era the Arabs of the tribe of Beni Ommia, being hard pressed by the Beni Abbas tribe, began to emigrate from Arabia 
in small numbers to the opposite shores of the Red Sea, and to settle in the districts about Sennar, on the Blue Nile. 
Whether the Beni Ommia led the van of the great Arab invasion it is impossible to say, nor is it known whether 
all the tribes chose the Red Sea road. Some authorities appear to think that several came into the Sudan from Egypt 
and Marocco. 

Be this as it may, the fact remains that the Beni Ommia settled gradually in the districts round Sennar, the inhabi- 
tants of which were negroes belonging to the tribes of Fung, Hameg, etc. 

The Beni Ommia, becoming gradually stronger, by degrees succeeded in becoming the masters of the whole of the 
Sennar districts, and converted the negroes to Islamism. 

During the next two centuries the ever-increasing demands of the Arabs for slaves began to press on the country, 
and the Christian kingdoms, which had meanwhile been increasing in population, refused to pay tribute in this 

Many Arabs began now to settle in the Sudan, and purchased lands from the inhabitants. In order to put a stop 
to this, Zacharias, King of Nubia, despatched his son, George, through Egypt to Baghdad, to see how the land lay. He a.u. 831. 
was graciously received by the Khalif Mutassim, who loaded him with presents, and gave him a house in Cairo. Even- 
tually he returned after most successful negotiations, and all idea of open rebellion was dropped by the Nubians. 

Nearly 50 years later Nubia was the scene of a filibustering expedition on a large scale. One Abu Abdelrahman a-d. 878. 
" el Omari," hearing of the ancient gold mines in the Eastern Desert, equipped a party to work them. He found a 
great deal of gold, but being obstructed by the local Arabs, he gradually pushed his way to Shankir, south of Dongola, 
and with his increased following attacked the Nubians under King George and beat them. His subsequent adventures 
read like a romance, but he was eventually driven out and murdered. ^-d- 880. 

In the following century the Christian kingdoms gradually became strong enough to resist the Arabs, and on occasions a.d. 950. 
they even invaded Upper Egypt. In a.d. 95G the Nubians seized Aswan, but were cut off by a flanking movement a.d. 95(5. 
instituted from the Red Sea, by the Moslem General Kafur, and lost Deir Ibrahim, a stronghold 136 miles south of 

Eleven years later, however, they again invaded Egjrpt and recovered their country as far as Akhmim. a.d. 967. 

Two years afterwards Johar, a Greek renegade general of the Khalif Moiz, seeing the necessity of guarding his a.d. 969. 
southern frontier, sent an embassy to the then King of Nubia (another George), inviting him to embrace Islam and 
pay his tribute as of old. The chief ambassador was one Ahmed ibn Solaim, and the account he writes of the Sudan 
in those days is exceedingly interesting. 

He describes the province which extended from 6 miles south of Aswan to Haifa as well-watered, carefully cultivated 
and abounding in vineyards. Beyond this no Moslems were allowed inside Nubia on pain of death. Between the 2nd 
and 3rd Cataract was a terrible desert, from which, however, precious jewel-polishing stones were obtained (?). Beyond 
this lay the kingdom of Makorra, with capital at Dongola, and south of this was the Kingdom of Aiwa, which was 
stronger and more fertile, but did not produce so many vines and palms as Makorra. Both kingdoms he describes 
as being amazingly fertile in herds and crows, far more so than Egypt (!). 

2 H 


A.D. 909—1493. 

He arrived at Suia (Soba), capital of Aiwa, which was situated at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, and, 
besides noting the excellence of theircamels, horses, meat and beer, states that the town was " adorned with magnificent 
buildings, great houses, churches enriched with gold, and gardens. The King also wears a crown of gold, for this metal 
is very abundant in his dominions." Amongst other things he remarks that the Christians belonged to the Jacobite 
Church of Egypt, and that their books, originally written in Greek, had been translated into their own language. He 
also refers to a road leading from Shankir to Suakin. 

THE LAMB IN TIIK PALACE GARDEN AT KHAUTOUM. (, I il'oujjill Iriilll ^(iba.) 











A.D. 1317. 

A.D. 1325. 
A.D. 1375. 
A.D. 1493. 

Ibn Solaim's mission met with every courtesy but no success, and his report convinced Johar that he would act 
wisely in leaving Nubia severely alone. 

In A.D. 1092 the Kings of Ethiopia and Nubia were so powerful that the Moslems of Egypt feared to persecute 
the Christians ; but 80 years later the Nubians were conquered by the brother of Saladin and forcibly converted to 

Fifty years afterwards the Nubians were again defeated and gave up to Egypt the Northern part of their Kingdom. 

In A.D. 1271 King David of Nubia attacked Aswan, but was repulsed by the Khalif Bibars. The Mohammedans 
overran Nubia as far as Dongola, seized the northern province and imposed onerous conditions, one of which was the 
revival of the slave tribute. 

Sixteen years later the Khalif Kalaun sent another expedition to Dongola, beat King Shemamun, left a garrison 
and retired. The Nubians promptly expelled the garrison, and the expedition was repeated, only to end in the same 
result. Thenceforward Shemamun was left in peace. 

From this time onwards the Sudan apparently became the hunting ground of rival Arab slave-dealing tribes. The 
Christian kingdoms at last took to fighting among themselves, and their downfall became a mere question of time. 

Thirty years later the great mosque was built at (old) Dongola, and kept up by the Christian inhabitants. 

In A.D. 1.32.5 the Moslems persecuted the Christians in Egypt to such an extent that the King of Abyssinia threatened 
to divert the Blue Nile unless they ceased. 

Fifty years later we find civil wars and slave trade rife in the Sudan, whilst in the region of Aswan the Kenz, royal 
descendants of Ethiopia, pursued the trade of brigands, much to the detriment of all communications. 

The rise of the kingdom of Sennar now commenced. By degrees the distinction between Arab and negro on the 
Blue Nile had diminished, whilst in 1493 the name of Beni Ommia is no longer heard of, and the old tribal names 
of Fung, Hameg, and others reappear. 

In that year Amara Dunkas. the Sheikh of a sub-section of the Fung, either through the fortune of war or his 
superior capacity, succeeded in getting himself declared king of all the Fung tribes. He then allied himself with 
Abdulla Gemda el Kerinani, the powerful chief of the Keri district (east of the Blue Nile), and conquered all the country 
on both sides of the river between Fazogli and Khartoum. 

These districts were inhabited by negroes belonging to the Nuba tribes, some of whom after the conquest remained 

A.D. 1493—1786. 229 

in tiie country, while others emigrated into the mountains of Fazogli and Kordofan. Those who remained embraced 
Islamism, intermarried with their conquerors, and, losing their language and nationality, were soon lost in the tribes 
known collectively under the name of Fung. 

Of these tribes some settled in towns, while others retained their nomad habits, such as the (1) Khamir, (2) Rebia, 
(.•}) Kakhtan, (4) Kenana, (5) Kawahla, (6) Geheina, (7) Beni Shaker, (8) Beni Ziban, (9) Beni Abbas. From this last 
have descended the Kababish, Ferara, Beni Selim, and Ahamda. The latter two tribes are Baggara, or owners of cattle 
and horses. (Vide p. 179 and Appendix F.) 

Some of these tribes are now to be found along the banks of the White and Blue Niles. 

In 1523 Amara Dunkas was succeeded by his son Abdul Kader. a.d. 1523. 

In 1539 Abdul Kader was succeeded by his son Nule. a.d. 1639. 

In 1545 Nule was succeeded by his son Amara. a.d. l.')45. 

Amara was sxirnamed Abu Sakakin ; during his reign Sheikh Abdalla Gem;ia died, leaving the Province of Keri 
to his son. 

In 1553 Amara died. Between that date and 1596 four kings, all of the family of Dunkas, succeeded each other, a.d. 15.53. 

In 1596, in the reign of Adlan, Sheikh Agib, a descendant of Gem;ia and Governor of Keri, rebelled. Adlan a.d. 1590. 
defeated him near Alati. His children fled to Dongola, whither Adlan sent Sheikh Idris to offer them a free pardon 
and invite them to Sennar They came, and Adlan invested the eldest with the Government of Keri. 

This emissary of Adlan's, Sheikh Idris, was celebrated for his ability. He is also said to have lived to the great 
age of 147. During this reign many learned men came from Cairo and Baghdad. 

In 1603 Adlan was succeeded by his son Baadi. a-d- 1603. 

In 1606 Baadi was succeeded by his son Rubat. a.d. 1006. 

In 1635 Rubat was succeeded by his son Baadi Abu Dign (Father of the Beard). a.d. 1635. 

This King attacked the Shilluk negroes and took a large number of slaves. The Shilluk inhabited the country 
on both sides of the White Nile south of Kawa. Thence he invaded the mountains of Tagale and destroyed Kordofan, 
where he again took a large number of slaves. On his return to Sennar he built a number of villages in that district 
for his prisoners. 

The prisoners named these villages after those they had left, hence the number of villages now near Sennar with 
names similar to those in the Jebel Nuba, Tagale, and other districts about Kordofan. 

In time these slaves supplied the Kings of Fung with recruits for their armies. 

Besides his warlike enterprise, Baadi built the mosque now at Sennar, and furnished it with copper window bars. 

In 1671 he died, and was succeeded by his son Ansu. During this reign there was a great famine and an outbreak a.d. 1671. 
of small-pox. 

In 1683 Ansu was succeeded by his son Baadi el Ahmar. In this reign a number of the Fung tribes and the people a.d. 1683. 
of Keri under their prince, rebelled, but they were defeated with great slaughter, and the Prince of Keri was killed. 
Sheikh Hamed Walad el Terabi, a celebrated Sheikh, lived during this reign. His tomb is now at Sennar. 

In 1699 Dr. Poncet, a French physician, on his way to Abyssinia visited Sennar, and found it a powerful kingdom 
in a flourishing condition. 

In 1710 Baadi was succeeded by his son Ansu II. This monarch caused such great dissatisfaction by his extravagance a.d. 1710. 
and debauchery that the Southern Fungs revolted, deposed the King, and placed a noble called Nur on the throne. 
This happened in 1714. 

In 1719 Nur was succeeded by his son Gaadi Abu Shilluk. In this reign the Abyssinian King Kedem Yasu invaded a.d. 1710. 
Sennar with a large army. He was, however, defeated with great slaughter by Sheikh Amin, near the village of 
Tekiya on the Dinder River. It is said that the reason for this invasion was that some presents sent by the King of 
France .to Abyssinia had been seized by King Baadi. 

After this great victory the renown of Sennar spread in all directions, and eventually reached Constantinople. 
Crowds of learned and celebrated men flocked into the country from Arabia, Egypt, and India. Notwithstanding 
this, in 1758 Baadi, owing to his bad administration was deposed and exiled. He was succeeded by his son Nasser. 

1758.— Under his rule the Hameg tribe became very powerful, and the Fung lost a great deal of their influence a.d. 1758. 
and prestige. In 1765 Nasser was killed by a rebellious vassal, and was succeeded by his son Ismail. 

In 1774 Ismail was deposed, exiled to Suakin, and succeeded by his son Adlan. During this reign many intertribal ■*"■ ' ' '■*• 
wars went on both in Sennar and Kordofan,* and the power and influence of the Hameg grew so great that they 
eventually became the masters of the King. 

In 1786 Adlan was deposed by the Hameg, and the kingdom of the Fung totally disappeared. Anarchy pre\-ailed a.d. 1786. 

throughout the country, and the kings succeeded each other in such rapid succession that in the year 1788 four kings 

successively reigned. During the succeeding 33 years of anarchy the Hameg continued supreme, and under Sheikh 

Nasser they devastated the northern and eastern part of the Sudan with fire and sword. 

* Vide p. 184 (Daifur). 

^ 2 II 2 




In 1819 Mohammed Ali, hearing of the anarchy prevaiUng in the Sudan, and wishing to introduce the benefits of 
a regular government of civilisation, and at the same time to occupy his troops, ordered his son Ismail, with a 
numerous army of regulars and irregulars, with many learned men and artisans, to invade the country. 

Ismail reached Khartoum without meeting with any resistance, and thence marched on to Sennar. Here he found 
that of the two rivals to the throne of Baadi, Adlan had been murdered by Regab, and the latter had fled, leaving 
the kingdom to the Fung claimant, Baadi. The latter, however, had resigned his claims to Ismail. 

At Sennar Ismail was joined by his brother, Ibrahim Pasha, and they together advanced to Fazogli. Shortly 
after, Ibranim returned to Egypt, and the report spread that Ibrahim had been killed in the Fazogh Mountains. The 
Arab nomads immediately rose, but Ismail returned, defeated the rebels, and appointed new Sheikhs. He then went on 
to Shendi, on the Nile. The Mek (ruler) Nimr (tiger) of that place, wishing to be revenged of all the cruelties and 
barbarities Ismail had been guilty of, invited him and his followers to a great banquet at Shendi. During the banquet 
and while the guests were all more or less intoxicated, forage was piled round the tent and set on fire, and Ismail and 
all his followers perished (1822). 

When the news of this catastrophe reached Kordofan, Ahmed Bey, the Defterdar, who had wrested that province 
from the Darfur Sultan, put himself at the head of a large army and marched on Shendi. When he reached Metemma, 
opposite Shendi, the inhabitants sent to ask for pardon. This was granted. One of the people, however, happening to 
throw a lance at the Defterdar, the pardon was at once rescinded, and a general massacre took place. The Mek el 
Nimr, however, escaped, and fled towards Abyssinia. 

After this the Defterdar marched to Tuti Island, opposite Khartoum, where he again defeated the rebels with great 
slaughter. He then marched to Wad Medani, near Mesellemia, and then returned to Kordofan. 

It is said that when Kordofan was conquered it was found that the Governor of the Province had the title of Magdum, 
which is a title only given to Palace eunuchs. It would appear that it was the custom of the Darfur Sultans to send 
eunuchs to govern provinces and districts. 

In 1822 Osman Bey was named Governor of the Sudan, and the Defterdar, Ahmed Bey, returned to Egypt. This 
was a year of rebellions and famines. 

In 1826 Maho Bey was appointed Governor. Immediately afterwards Khurshid Pasha became Governor. He 
was renowned for his rectitude and honesty. He led several expeditions up the White Nile against the Dinka negro 
tribe, opposite Kodok, and also into the mountains of Tagale. In 1834 he went to Egypt for a few months. Towards 
the end of that year he marched to the Abyssinian frontier to repel the attack of the Abyssinians who were coming to 
the assistance of the Sennar rebels. The Abyssinians were defeated, and Adlan, their leader, was taken and impaled. 
During this year cholera and other diseases ravaged the country. In 1836 the Abyssinians, after attacking the Gallabat 
provinces, retreated into their mountains. 

Khurshid Pasha was the first Governor who taught the people of Khartoum to build with bricks, and to give up 
their huts made of skins and reeds. In 1839 he was recalled to Egypt, and was succeeded by Ahmed Pasha Abu Udn 
(Father of Large Ears).* 

The annexation of the Sudan provinces thus took place more than three-quarters of a century ago. Mohammed Ali 
having dispersed fhe Mamelukes, and made himself master of Nubia, turned his attention towards the districts bordering 
the White and the Blue branches of the Nile. Gold was doubtless his main object, for he had heard rumours of mines 
of vast wealth ; but we must also give him credit for an honest intention to introduce commerce and civiUsation into 
the midst of the Negro tribes. 

♦ For subsequent Governors-General, vide p. 280. 


Invasion by 
Ali. • 

burnt at 




A.C. 1838—1866. 


All, lt<38. 




Said Pasha 
at Khar- 
toum, 1807. 

Source of 
the Nile 


in 1861. 

State of the 
Sudan in 


Scheme fur 






In the autumn of 1838 Mohammed Ali himself, at the age of 69, started to visit Fazogli, and in 1840 and following 
years three large expeditions were organised. Although gold was not found in any important quantities, the provinces 
were reduced under Egyptian sway, the navigation of the White Nile was declared free, niiUtary stations were 
established on both rivers, and many slaves were brought back to swell the ranks of Mohammed's army. Whatever may 
have been his dreams of civilisation, the result of Mohammed's expedition and consequent government was to establish 
at Khartoum, not only the capital of the Sudan provinces, but also a central mart for a huge slave trade. 

The provinces thus annexed were Kordofan, Sennar, and Taka (Kassala). 

Abbas Pasha, grandson of Mohammed, who ruled Egypt from 1848 to 1854, kept up his authority in the Sudan 
provinces by means of a large force, which was necessary for the purpose of collecting taxes from a discontented popula- 
tion. In 1853 the most southern Egyptian settlement was about 120 miles south of Khartoum, but in that year the 
first trading voyage to the Upper Nile was started by Mr. Petherick, the Enghsh Consul for the Sudan. He was soon 
followed by other traders, who estabhshed posts far up country, and organised armed bands under the command of 
Arabs. It was soon found that slave hunting paid even better than ivory, and raids were made on the surrounding 

Said Pasha, the successor of Abbas, found the country in a deplorable condition ; exhorbitant taxes, a depressed 
agriculture, and a disordered administration openly encouraging an open slave trade. 

With the resolution of organising a better state of things, Said, in the year 1857, made a rapid tour through the 
provinces in question. At Berber he proclaimed the abohtion of slavery, and at Khartoum he organised a new government 
for the five provinces then comprised in the Sudan, i.e., Kordofan, Sennar, Taka, Berber and Dongola. He ordered 
that the excessive taxes on the lands and waterwheels of the people should be discontinued, and postal services on fast 
camels organised across the desert. About the year 1860 the European traders sold their stations to their Arab agents 
who paid rental to the Egyptian Government, and the misery and ruin were increased tenfold. 

To Said Pasha is due the first idea for making a railway to unite the Sudan with Lower Egypt ; Mougel Bey was 
ordered to report on the subject, but the probable expense caused the project to be abandoned. 

The sources of the Nile had long been the object of much speculation, but comparatively little had been done 
to solve the question. Towards the latter end of the eighteenth century, Bruce had tracked the Blue Nile to its origin 
in the Abyssinian mountains, but the White Nile remained unexplored till Speke and Grant, carrying out in 1860-62 
an expedition organised by the Enghsh Government, proved that the Victoria Nyanza, discovered by Speke* in July, 
1858, was the source of the Nile. 

In 1861 Sir Samuel Baker started on an expedition from Cairo vid Khartoum, with hopes of meeting the travellers 
in question, and of making independent investigations on his own account. He was successful in both ways, and his 
explorations resulted in the discovery, in 1864, of Albert Nyanza Lake. His description of the Sudan at this period 
under the governorship of a certain Musa Pasha gives a melancholy picture of the results of Egyptian rule. He 
describes the provinces as utterly ruined and only governed by miUtary force, the revenue unequal to the expenditure, 
and the country paralysed by excessive taxation ; shut in by deserts, all communication with the outer world was most 
difficult ; and the existing conditions rendered these countries so worthless to the State, that their annexation could 
only be accounted for by the fruits of the slave trade. 

On Ismail Pasha coming to the throne in 1863, orders for the suppression of the slave trade were issued, and on 
Baker's return journey in 1865, he found an Egyptian camp of 1,000 men established at Kodok in the Shilluk country 
for the purpose. 

In 1865-6 the Khedive again brought forward the scheme for a Sudan Railway, and a study of the country from 
Aswan to Khartoum was made by Mr. Walker and Mr. Bray, but nothing came of it. About the same time Mr. Hawk- 
shaw recommended the canalisation of the 1st Cataract, but this was strongly opposed by Mr. Fowler, who proposed 
as an alternative to construct a ship inchne over land, using the mechanical force supplied by the descending water. 

Ismail Pasha not only determined to extend his territories, but seemed in earnest to put down the slave trade. 

The traders were chiefly Arab subjects of the Khedive, and the traffic was being carried out under the cloak of 
legitimate commerce. Khartoum was the headquarters for the trading companies, who leased from the Governor- 
General of the Sudan certain districts nominally for carrying on the ivory trade, for which they bought the monopoly. 
In these transactions the Government did not hesitate to lease territories over which they had not a vestige of right ; 
in fact, any portion of Central Africa south of Khartoum was considered open to them for selUng the monopoly. The 
result was that certain traders established themselves in, and claimed a sort of proprietary right to large districts, 
especially in that part which lies to the South of Darfur and Kordofan, and borders the course of the White Nile, now 
known as the Bahr El Ghazal. Traffic in slaves was the real business carried on, and for this purpose the traders 
organised armies of brigands, and formed chains of stations, of about 300 men each, throughout their districts. Raids 

* On a journey from the East t.'oast. 

A.n. 1866— 1S72. 


were made on native tribes, who were obliged to submit, fly the country, or ally themselves to the slave hunters, to 
be used against other tribes ; and anarchy prevailed throughout the country. 

In order to carry out the reforms it was necessary to annex the Nile Basin, to establish a sound government and 
commerce, and to open the Equatorial Lakes to steam navigation. The Khedive accordingly issued a firman to Sir 
S. Baker on 1st April, 1869, whereby he gave him absolute and supreme power over all the country south of Gondokoro. 

Baker left Suez for Suakin in December, 1869, and proceeded to Khartoum, where the expedition was fitted out. 
He experienced much opposition from officials, who were all more or less implicated in the slave trade. He also made 
the discovery that the very provinces he was about to annex were already leased by the Governor-General of the Sudan 
to a notorious slave-trader, named Ahmed Sheikh Aga, whose son in-law and partner, Abu Saud, was a still more 
notorious character. 



Another expedition was being fitted out, at the same time, to the Bahr el Ghazal, for the purpose of establishing 
a settlement at some copper mines on the frontier of Darfur. 

In February 1870 Baker left Khartoum, and after several abortive attempts, with great difficulty succeeded in Annexatiou 
dragging his boats over the sudd in the Bahr El Zeraf and arrived at Gondokoro, and formally annexed this station, <>( Gomlo- 
as " Ismailia," on May 26th, 1871. In January, 1872, he left Gondokoro for the south, and on the 14th May of the 
same year, at Masindi, proclaimed Unyoro an Egyptian province. He organised military posts such at Masindi, 
Foweira, Fatiko, etc., and entered into friendly relations with M'tesa, the King of Uganda, thus establishing the 
Khedive's rule to within 2° of the Equator. He dealt the slave trade a heavy blow by putting a stop to it in the 
annexed territory, as well as on the Nile, so that all exit for the traffic in the direction of Khartoum would have been 
closed if the officials could have been trusted. 

kciro, Mav 
26th, 187"]. 

14tli Mav, 


A.I). 1873—1874. 


retunia to 

1871. Rail- 
way scheme 
agaia taken 





Governor of 



broken up, 

1874. Sub- 
mission of 
chiefs round 

1874. Rep- 
sent tfi 

In August, 1873, Baker returned to Cairo, and the Khedive put the Government of the Sudan on a fresh footing, 
by dividing it into provinces under responsible governors, more or less independent of the Governor of Khartoum. 
Thus Yusef EfFendi was made Governor of Kodok, Ismail Yagub Pasha of Khartoum, and Hussein Khalifa of Berber. 

In 1871 the railway scheme was again taken up; Mr. Fowler was employed by the Khedive to make careful surveys, 
and the result was an elaborately prepared project for making a Une from Wadi Haifa, viii Shendi, to Khartoum, with a 
plan for the passage of the 1st Cataract. Such a line would have been of vast importance in opening up the trade of 
Central Africa. 

At the close of Sir Samuel Baker's expedition, the Khedive, still anxious to consolidate his Empire, appointed 
Colonel Gordon, R.E., to carry on the work. Gordon arrived in Cairo early in 1874, and left for the scenes of his future 
operations on 21st February. His appointed task was to continue the reconnaissance of the Upper Nile, to establish 
a Government, and to destroy the slave trade. Accompanying him were Lieut.-Colonel Long, an American officer 
in the service of the Khedive, Lieut. Hassan Wassif, and a number of European civil employes. It was arranged 
that the territory over which the Governor-General of the Sudan now ruled was to be limited to the south by Kodok ; 
Gordon to be Governor-General of the Equatorial provinces of the Nile, and the respective headquarters to be at Khar- 
toum and Gondokoro. 

Gordon left Khartoum in March, 1874, and reached Gondokoro the 15th of the following month, where he was 
cordially received by the Commandant, Rauf Bey. He found that the provinces in question were merely nominally 
under Egyptian control, there being but two garrisons, one at Gondokoro consisting of 450 men, 1-50 of whom were 
Egyptian soldiers, and a second at Fatiko of 200 Sudan soldiers. His first steps were to occupy Bor, an important 
position north of Gondokoro, and to send Colonel Long on an expedition to M'tesa, King of Uganda. He then in June, 
1874, proceeded to break up three large slave- trading stations on the Bahr el Zeraf, and established a strong post at 
the Sobat junction, so situated as to be able to arrest all illegal traffic on the river. The liberated slaves he, in 
accordance with their own option, planted at Sobat, and encouraged them to turn their attention to agriculture, it being 
one of his ideas that most of the wars between the tribes were caused by the great deficiency of food. 

During the summer of 1874, Rauf Bey returned to Cairo, and was given the command of the Harrar country. 
Gordon sent Gessi about the same time to make an inspection along the Bahr el Ghazal. 

Abu Saud, notorious in Baker's time, had accompanied Gordon from Cairo. The latter, though aware of his 
character, knew him to be a man of great influence among the slave-dealing communities, and determined to turn him 
to account. On first taking over the government at Gondokoro, he made Abu Saud his lieutenant, and employed many 
of the other slave dealers under him. This, however, was of short duration ; Abu Saud soon got beyond himself, 
and, showing his true character, was speedily dismissed by Gordon ; while, towards the end of the year, a clean sweep 
was made of all the other slave-dealing Dongolese, whose intriijues had seriously hampered Long's expedition. 

On 11th September, 1874, 25 chiefs of the tribes round Gondokoro came in to pay homage to Gordon, a remarkable 
proof of the success of his rule, as up to this they had been at open emnity with the garrisons. 

In October Yusef Bey, Governor of Kodok, intercepted a convoy of 1,600 slaves and 190 head of cattle from the 
stations of Ratatz and Kuchuk Ali on the Bahr El Zeraf. 

About this time Gordon was making preparations for his expedition to the lakes. The sections of the steamers, 
which had been left at Gondokoro by Baker, were sent forward by carriers, to be put together at the Falls of Dufile, 
beyond which point there is a free passage to the lake Albert Nyanza. 

It was decided to establish fortified posts at the following stations : — Lahore, Dufile, Fatiko, and Foweira ; this step 
was rendered necessary by the hostile attitude shown towards Colonel Long's expedition by the King of Unyoro backed 
up by slave-traders. 

In consequence of the report of Colonel Long, who returned in October, Gordon arranged to send a trustworthy 
representative* to M'tesa, King of Uganda, who had shown himself to be friendly. 

On the 2l8t November Gondokoro was abandoned as the headquarters in favour of Lado, a more healthy spot 
a few miles down the river, while another post was established at Rejaf, a short distance up the river. 

At the close of the year 1874 Gordon reported the organisation of governmental districts along the whole line of 
his provinces, the chief stations being the following : — 

1. Sobat, at the junction of the Sobat River with the Nile ; garrison, 50 Sudan regulars. 

2. Nasser, on the Sobat ; garrison, 100 Dongolese irregulars. 

3. Ghabatshambe (Shambe), 30 Sudan regulars, 150 Dongolese irregulars. 

4. Makaraka, 20 Sudan regulars, 1.50 Dongolese irregulars. 

5. Bor, 10 Sudan regulars, 150 Dongolese irregulars. 

* Dr. Emin Bey. 

A.D. 1874. 235 

6. Latuka, 10 Sudan regulars, 100 Dongolese irregulars. 

7. Lado. Headquarters, 180 Sudan regulars, 50 Egyptian regulars. 

8. Rejaf, 80 Sudan regulars. 

9. Dufile (Ibrahiraieh), 10 Sudan regulars. 

10. Fatiko, 250 Sudan regulars, 100 Egyptian regulars. 

11. Foweira, 100 Sudan regulars, 100 Egyptian regulars. 

The results of the nine months' work are summed up by the Egyptian General Staff* as follows : — 

1st. The White Nile had been mapped with very considerable accuracy from Khartoum to Rejaf by Lieutenants 
C. M. Watson and Chippendall, R.E. 

2nd. The slave trade on the White Nile had received a deadly blow. 

3rd. Confidence and peace had been restored among the tribes round Gondokoro, who now freely brought in 
for sale their beef, corn, and ivory. 

4th. The work of opening a water communication between Gondokoro and the lakes had been seriously commenced. 

5th. Commimications had been established with M'tesa, and the connection of Lake Victoria with Lake Albert, 
by the way of the Victoria Nile, demonstrated. 

6th. Government districts had been formed and secure posts with intercommunication established 

7th. New expeditions were organised and ready to commence. 


During the year 1874 an important addition was made to the Egyptian possessions in the shape of the Province conquest of 
ofDarfur. Barfur,1874. 

Gordon writes : — " Dar For and Dar Fertit mean the land of the Fors and the land of the Fertits. The Fors and the 
Fertits were the original negro inhabitants ; then came in the Beduin tribes, who partially conquered the country 
and made the Fors Mussulmans, giving them a Sultan. The Fors and the Beduin tribes, the one stationary and the 
other nomadic, live in peace, for their habits are different." 

The country of Darfur had never been subjugated, but had been governed by its own Sultans in unbroken succession 
for more than 400 years. f The inhabitants were not of the true negro type, and the numerous wandering Arab tribes 
paid tribute to the Sultan and formed the bulk of his fighting men. Darfur enjoyed the celebrity not only as a centre 
of commerce, but also as a large slave depot, a fact which appears from the following correspondence which passed 
between Bonaparte and Sultan Abd-el-Rahman, surnamed " the Just." During the French expedition to Egypt, 
" the Just " wrote to Bonaparte " In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful," saying he was glad to hear 
that he had conquered the Mamelukes. The reply was as follows : — " Au Sultan du Darfour, 12 Messidor, an VII, au 
nom de Dieu, clement et misericordieux, il n'y a d' autre Dieu que Dieu ! au Sultan du Dar-fur Abd-el-Rahman. 

" J'ai regu votre lettre : j'en ai compris le contenu ; lorsque votre caravane est arrivee j'etais absent ayant ete 
en Syrie pour punir et detruire nos ennemis. Je vous prie de m'envoyer par la premiere caravane 2,000 esclaves noirs 
ayant plus de 16 ans, forts et vigoureux : je les acheterai pour mon compte. Ordonnez votre caravane de venir de 
suite, de ne pas s'arrcter en route : je donne les ordres pour qu'elle soit protegee partout. 

Le General-en-Chef Bonaparte." 

Dating from the days of Mohammed All's expeditions, Darfur was in constant dread of Egyptian aggression, and Belial's 
the country was practically closed to all Europeans, who were regarded as spies. For many generations Darfur had sent 1'*'^'','''.'^', 
annually- a caravan containing ivory, feathers, gum, slaves, etc., to Egypt, bringing back in exchange cloth, beads, Qi^j^^a" 
firearms, etc. In 1874, the slave trade having been stopped in Egyptian territory, the Governor of the Sudan seized destroyed by 
all the slaves belonging to the caravan of that year ; this was one of the causes which led to a rupture with the Zubeir, 1869. 
Sultan of Darfur. 

In 1869 the power of the slave dealers in the Bahr El Ghazal had become so great that they refused to pay their 
rentals to the Egyptian Government. Conspicuous among them was a certain Zubeir Rahama, who, according to 
Dr. Sihweinfurth, lived in princely style and was regarded as a kind of king. 

With the object of re-establishing his authority in the Bahr El Ghazal provinces, and also of conquering Darfur, 
the Khedive sent a small force under the command of Belial. This force was destroyed by Zubeir, who became the 
chief power in the country. The Sultan of Darfur, in the meantime, to meet Belial's threatened attack, had placed 

* " Provinces of the Equator," published by the Egyptian General Staff. 
+ See p, 184. 

2 I 


Abi/mnm, A.v. 1874 — 1875. 

of Darfur 
.111(1 Kordo- 
fan, 1874. 

an embargo on corn along his southern frontier. This incensed the slave traders, who drew their supplies from Darfur, 
and a further cause of quarrel was the invasion of Bahr El Ghazal territory by Darfur troops in pursuit of slaves. 
Zubeir accordingly prepared for an invasion of the province. The Egyptian Government, seeing the danger of his 
acquiring fresh strength, determined upon taking the conquest into their own liands, giving out as a pretext that the 
repeated hostile expeditions of the Sultan had made it necessary to occupy Darfur. Two expeditions were accordingly 
organised — one from the north under the command of Ismail Yagub Pasha, and one from the south under Zubeir. In 
one of the ensuing battles the Sultan and two of his sons were killed, and Darfur fell into Egyptian hands. Zubeir 
was made a pasha, but he claimed a right to be made governor-general of the new province, and his acknowledged 
power was likely to make him formidable. His request, however, was refused, and though at first he intended to assert 
his independence, he, in the end, decided to push his claim at Cairo. Here he was, however, detained,* his son, Suleiman, 
of whom more hereafter, meanwhile taking his place in the provinces. 

Darfur having thus become an Egyptian province, the Khedive sent out two scientific expeditions, composed of 
staff officers and attaches, to report on the capabilities of the country. These left Cairo on the 5th December, 1874 : 
one, under Colonel Purdy, was to enter Darfur on its northern frontier ; the other under Colonel Colston, by the east 
from Kordofan. The latter expedition was afterwards commanded by Major Prout, when Colston was incapacitated 
by sickness. Reports of these expeditions were compiled by the Egyptian General staff. 

to Egypt, 




capital of 
Bojfos, occu- 
pi«i, 1874. 

Port of Zeila 
purchased by 
Egypt, 1875. 


The relations between Egypt and Abyssinia have an important bearing on the history of the Sudan, and in future 
years are likely to exercise a still further influence on this portion of Africa. 

The Turks and Arabs never succeeded in subjugating this country, although many attempts were made 
to that end. As far back as the sixteenth century the Turks had seized the port of Zula on the Red Sea, and in later 
times Suakin and Massaua ; but, though based on these ports, they could make no headway into the Abyssinian hills, 
nor even occupy the coast provinces from Massaua to Suakin. During the aggressions of Ismail, son of Mohammed Ali, 
the Egyptians and Abyssinians came into collision from Kassala to Gallabat, and the Abyssinians were gradually pushed 
back to the mountains as their boundary, being hemmed in on all sides by Turks, Egyptians, and the tribes of the 
Galla country. 

In 1866 Turkey transferred her interest in Massaua to Egypt in consideration of an increased tribute, and in 1867 
the Khedive claimed authority as far as Zula, which is situated in Annesley Bay. Early in 18C8 the English expedition 
to Abyssinia took place, and the Khedive, wishing for the countenance of England in his present and possible future 
encroachments on the Red Sea coast, did all in his power to assist the undertaking. Egyptian troops were ofEered to 
the British Government, though not accepted, and Kassala and Gallabat were spoken of as possible bases of operations. 
All this did not tend towards creating a good feeling between Egypt and Abyssinia 

When the Khedive, Ismail Pasha, was arranging his Sudan railway scheme, he proposed to make a branch line 
to Massawa, which would necessarily pass through the province of Bogos. 

The Khedive claimed that Bogos had been conquered by Mohammed Ali, though as a matter of fact the borderland 
only had been held by the Egyptians, whilst the Abyssinians denied that they had ever relinquished their rights to 
the territory. Border war had been maintained till Said Pasha, the former Khedive, had withdrawn his troops, and Bogos 
for many years had remained neutral ground. 

In the summer of 1874 there was a certain Swiss resident at Massaua named Munzinger, who acted as consul for 
both England and France. Seizing the opportunity of the King of Abyssinia being at war with the Gallas, the Egyptian 
Government employed Munzinger to occupy Keren, the capital of Bogos, with 1,500 men. About the same time, Egypt 
also acquired the territory of Ailet, a province lying between Hamasen and Massaua, by the treachery of the Governor, 
who sold it to the Khedive. 

Against these acts the King appealed to Europe, and especially to England, sending as his envoy Colonel Kirkman, 
a Scotchman, then in the service of King Johannes, but who had formerly been with Gordon in China. This mission 
had no practical result, and the relations between Abyssinia and Egypt were more strained than ever. 

In 1875 the Khedive purchased from the Sultan, for about £15,000 a year additional tribute, the port of Zeila, the 
base from which for many centuries Turk and Arab had unsuccessfully attacked Abyssinia ; and in fact acquired at 
the same time all the Sultan's nominal rights to the coast coimtry from near Tajura to a point on the Indian Ocean, 
including Berbera, the transfer actually taking place in autumn, 1875. 

♦ Zubeir Pasha wa« permitted to return to tlie Sudan shortly after the f.-illof Oiiiilurman (1898) and now resides at Geili on the 
Nile, about 30 miles north of Khai-toum. 

Abyssinia. A.D. 1874 — 1875. 2:i*J 


The province of Harrar was annexed by an expedition under Rauf Pasha, whom, it may be remembered, Gordon Hairar 
had relieved at Gondokoro in 1874. After the death of Emir Ahmed, Sultan of Harrar, mentioned by the traveller annexeil, 
Burton, the inhabitants made Khahfa Sitra Emir. He was deposed after a three days' reign by Mohammed ; the ^^''^' 
latter oppressed his subjects, favouring the Galla tribes, and bullying the Mussulmans. The people asked the Khedive 
to take possession, and in the year 1874, Rauf Pasha, being sent up for the purpose, met with little opposition. He 
began his government by the unnecessary act of causing the Sultan to be strangled. The Sultan's son went to Cairo 
to complain, but nothing was done. 


Early in 1875 Gordon heard ill reports of Kabarega, King of Unyoro, who, with the old slave traders, was meditating ih75. 
treachery. He had already cleared his province of all those traders on whom he could lay hands, but 50 of them had 
escaped him, and taken themselves to the chief above mentioned. Rionga, Kabarega's rival, now received Gordon's 

From the experience gained it became evident to Colonel Gordon that, in order to open up the Equatorial provinces, 
an outlet to the eastern coast must be made. The Nile was found to be impracticable as a waterway, owing to the 
numerous rapids, the obstruction formed by floating masses of vegetation (sudd), and the scarcity of wood. And as 
Gordon writes from Lado : " The only valuable parts of the country are the highlands near M'tesa, while all between 
this (Lado) and Khartoum is wretched marsh." 

In January, 1875, Gordon proposed to the Khedive that he should estabhsh a station at Mombasa Bay, 250 miles 1875. 
north of Zanziljar, and also take Formosa Bay, or rather a point, where the Tana and Ozi debouch, to the north of it. 
In making this proposition he was under the impression that the Tana was navigable as far as Moim^t Kenia, and that 
Lake Baringo was connected with the Victoria Nyanza, neither of which suppositions are true. The Khedive on his 
side proposed the mouth of the Juba as a base, and fitted out an expedition for the purpose of occupying it, of wliich 
more hereafter. 

Gordon now set himself to transport a steamer from Lado to the lakes. The difficulties he had to contend with 
were very great, including the hostility of the border tribes, the obstacles to navigation, and above all, the useless 
material of which the Egyptian troops were composed. The heavy parts of the steamer had to be carried separately 
in large Nile boats (nuggars) to Dufile Falls, above which and up to the lakes the river is navigable. As he advanced, 
stations were established along the west bank of the river. This bank was more secure from attack by natives, as the 
mountains came within eight miles of it, and limited the sphere of their operations ; while on the east bank the Bari 
tribe was very hostile. A party under Linant, one of Gordon's officers, was here surprised and massacred. 

As regards the finances of the expedition, Gordon writes from Muggi, in August, 1874 : — " In a year he (the Khedive) 
has had £48,000 from the province, and I have spent, say, £20,000 at the outside, and have £60,000 worth of ivory 
here." In September he says that he was entirely independent of the Sudan Government as regards supplies, and 
could raise them from his own resources. In this month parties were sent out to levy taxes in the shape of cattle on 
the hostile tribes, which had a salutary effect in keeping them quiet. 

During Gordon's absence, the Shilluk tribes in the neighbourhood of Kodok rose in rebellion against the oppression 
of the Government, and, had it not been for the presence of Gessi there at the time, Kodok would probably have been Gessi Paslia. 
lost. Gessi was an Italian adventurer of great force of character ; he joined Gordon's staff in the summer of 1874, 
liaving, during the Crimean war, acted as interpreter to British troops. 

The steamer reached Lahore in December, great difficulties havmg been met with in getting the boats conveying it 
up the rapids. 


In the autumn of 1875 the Khedive, having long had under consideration the advantage of opening up a line of 

communication from the Indian Ocean to the central provinces, sent out what is known as the Juba River Expedition, ^'j'^^^"^'"' 

The command was given to McKillop Pasha (an English naval officer who died in 1879, and he was accompanied hj Expedition, 

2 I 2 1875. 


Abyssima, A.n. 1875—1876. 

Colonels Ward and Long, the former to survey the harbours along the coast and the latter to command an inland 
expedition. Colonel Gordon was to co-operate from the direction of Victoria Nyanza. 

The anchorage at the mouth of the Juba River having been found inferior, the Expedition ran several miles further 
south to Port Durnford and the harbom- of Kismayu ; but here they encroached on the territory of the Sultan of 
Zanzibar. Several interests now clashed with the success of the enterprise. The British Government were bound 
more or less to the Sultan by treaties concerning the slave trade. The merchants of Zanzibar became alarmed for their 
equatorial trade, and the people of Aden for their suppUes from the Somalis, who had been independent till Egypt had 
acquired a portion of their territory and levied taxes at their ports. The result was that, at the instance of Great 
Britain, the Egyptian Expedition was given up, but, on the other hand, the Khedive's authority along the coast, as far 
as about 10° north lat. was tacitly acknowledged. Ismail Pasha was thus encouraged to think that he was entitled 
to the whole of the Red Sea coast, and could resist any pretensions of the Abyssinians to a port ; while England believed 
that she had erected a safeguard against European settlement on the coast, and had opened the way to a Slavery Treaty 
with Egypt. 



of Egyptian 
A nay. 

fitted out, 

Defeat of the 
7tu Marcli, 


During the same period other important events were passing in Abyssinia. Soon after the acquisition of the Port 
of Zeila by the Khedive, an Eg)rptian force was despatched to Massaua under Colonel Arendrup, a Danish officer in the 
Egyptian service. King Johannes had lately formed a new province (Ginda), which included the seaboard from the 
head of Annesley Bay to Amfila Bay and the Shoho, the Port of Zula, and the district of Ginda lying south of Ailet. 
This he had done to ensure the Port of Zula to Abyssinia, and he made Kirkman Governor of the new province, giving 
him the freehold for fife. Kirkman accordingly had established his headquarters at Ginda, and ran up the British flag. 
In October, 1875, Arendrup's force, having landed at Massaua, proceeded to Ginda, and took possession of it, and soon 
afterwards moved on Adua, the capital of Abyssinia. King John, however, having collected a large force, surprised and 
annihilated the Egyptian army at Gundet, killing 1,800 men and capturing 2,000 rifles, on the 11th of November. 
On the news reaching Cairo, another expedition on a larger scale was immediately organised, and the chief command 
given to Ratib Pasha, who was accompanied by Prince Hassan and several American officers in the service of the 
Khedive. The headquarters arrived at Massaua about the middle of December. 

Owing however, to the disorganised state of the StafE and the difficidties of transport the army did not get under 
way till the middle of January, 187G. After tedious marches, it arrived at the Kaya Khor Pass, near which place, 
at Gura, it was met and heavily defeated by King John on 7th March, losing nearly 4,000 men and 8,000 rifles. 

The Egyptians retired into a fort they had constructed at Kaya Khor, where, during the next two days, they were 
assailed by the Abyssinians. On the 11th of March, however, King John withdrew his forces, and peace negotiations 
were entered upon. The Egyptian army commenced its return march for Massaua on the 19th April. 

Ratib now returned to Cairo, leaving Osman Pasha in command at Massaua. 

Walad (Wolda) Mikael, a former Governor of the Hamasen, and hereditary ruler of Hamasen and Bogos, who had 
joined the Egyptians during the campaign, now occupied himself in making a raid against the Hamasen territory of 
Abyssinia, which he laid waste in all directions. He then retired into Bogos and remained for some time at the Senhit 
Fort imder protection of the Egyptians, who kept him as a menace to King John. The latter employed another chief. 
Sheila Khan Alula, to watch him and to retahate by ravaging the Bogos and Ailet countries. MeneUk, King of Shoa, 
meanwhile had marched against King John, imder the impression that he was worsted by the Egyptians, but he now 
returned to his own country. 

The peace negotiations had come to an abrupt termination on account of the proceedings of Mikael, but in June, 
1876, the King sent an envoy to Cairo to endeavour to have the boundary fixed, to secure certain privileges for Abyssima 
at the Port of Massaua, and to obtain an Abuna (high priest) to fill the place of one who had died ; offering at the same 
time the surrender of Hamasen if Walad Mikael were given up to him. The King's representative was retained at Cairo, 
on one pretext or another, till December, when he was released through the influence of the British Consul. 



0«"»» Early in 1876 Gordon made preparations for Gessi to proceed to Lake Albert Nyanza with two lifeboats, while 

Uk'e'Uujeit ^® himself proceeded towards Lake Victoria. 

Nyanza, He 1^ iiow surveyed the river from Khartoum to Dufile, and from Foweira to Mruli. Gessi started in March, 


Gordon, a.d. 1876—1877... 239 

and succeeded in circumnavigating the lake in nine days, finding it to be only 140 miles long and 50 miles wide. The 
natives showed themselves hostile, and the west coast was inaccessible. 

In January, Gordon had given up all idea of forming an expedition to meet that proposed from the Juba river ; 
his reasons were that his troops were utterly untrustworthy and unfitted for such a task. 

In July a steamer, brought up with much difficulty, was at length put together above the Dufile Falls, and the 
passage cleared to the Albert Lake. 

A treaty was made with M'tesa recognising his independence, and Dr. Emin EfEendi,* a German by birth, 
was sent to him as Gordon's representative. 

In October Gordon left for Khartoum and thence for England, having handed over the government of his province to Gordon 
Colonel Prout. He had during the three years successfully checked the slave trade in the Equatorial provinces, and '""^''"^ *""'" 
estabhshed the basis of a sound government, if such could be found under Egyptian rule. That he could not entirely octo'w ' 
suppress the slave trade was due to its huge ramifications, the despicable quahty of his troops, and the resistance offered 187(i. ' 
to all his endeavours by the government of the Sudan under Ismail Yagub Pasha. 

In February, 1877, Gordon, under pressure, returned to Egypt, and the Khedive made him Governor-General of Gordon 
the Sudan, uniting in one great province the Sudan, the Equatorial provinces, and the Red Sea provinces ; thus giving r?t"''"« *" 
him a district some 1,640 miles in length by an average of 660 in breadth, with three Wakils (deputy governors) for Feb.'uary, 
Sudan proper, Darfur, and the Red Sea provinces respectively. The Khedive drew his attention specially to the 1877. 
suppression of the slave trade and the improvement of the communications, and gave him powers to negotiate with 
Abyssinia in order to end the disputes with King John. 

Gordon at once proceeded, vid Massaua, to the Abyssinian frontier to make a treaty, if possible, with the King. He Gordon goes 
found that there was no hope of bringing the matter to a satisfactory result till a stop was put to the raids of Walad *» Abyssinia, 
Mikael. Just now a large portion of Gordon's troops were withdrawn for service in the Turco-Russian war, and it was 
useless for him to think of using force against Mikael, while the news of a serious revolt in Darfur required his presence 
elsewhere. He therefore agreed to supply Walad Mikael with money and provisions, on condition that he gave up his 
attacks on Abyssinia. King John, taking advantage of this temporary respite, proceeded to attack Menehk, King 
of Shoa. 

Gordon having visited Bogos, Kassala, Gedaref, and Sennar, proceeded to Khartoum ; here he spent some time in 
carrying out reforms, amongst others in giving back to the Ulema their ancient privileges of which they had 
been deprived by the late Governor, Ismail Yagub Pasha. In May, however, he found himself obhged to start for 

Harun, a relative of the late Sultan of Darfur, and a claimant to the throne, took advantage of the discontent 
caused by the misgovernment of the province to raise a revolt in February, 1877. He had a very large number of men i877. 
with him as the nomad tribes, who had not helped the Sultan when Darfur was conquered in 1874,now joined his standard. 

These tribes were semi-independent imder their own Sheikhs, and each of them could put from 2,000 to 6,000 
horse or camel-men into the field. They were largely engaged in the slave trade, making raids on the negro tribes to 
the south, or buying slaves from other nomad tribes who hved out of range to the west. Though the traffic of the 
large slave caravans had ceased, yet there was still an extensive trade carried on by small dealers, which it was impossible 
to put down. 

The Governor of Darfur at this time was Hassan Hilmi Pasha, who showed no energy, as up to May he had failed 
to render assistance to the stations of El Fasher, Dara, Kolkol, and Kebkebia, where the followers of Harun had hemmed 
in the Egyptian garrisons. A force had, it is true, been sent from Foga for the purpose, but seemed unable to accomphsh 
the task. 

Gordon arrived himself at Foga on the 7th June, having dismissed, before his departure from Khartoum, Khaled Gordon 
Pasha, who had been sent to him as second in command. '-|>".f "^ '" 

In addition to the revolt in Darfur, Suleiman, son of Zubeir, was now at the head of the slave dealers to the south, June 1877. 
and, having a large force at his command, was displaying a threatening attitude. Shakka was his headquarters, and the 
nest of the slave trade in that part. Gordon, considering the country was scarcely worth keeping, determined to call 
in all the outlying stations of Darfur, and merely maintain garrisons along the trunk road through El Fasher. Harun 
was at Tine, and Gordon intended to move against him with the force at his disposal, reinforced by the garrisons of 
Taweisha, Dara, and Kagmar, in all about 3,000 men. In July he was at Dara, and Harun retreated to Tura, whence 
he ravaged the country to the north, but, seeing Gordon was too strong for him, disappeared for the time. 

Gordon was at El Fasher in August, but soon after left for Dara, where he heard that the slave dealers were gathering Meeting 

in force. Here he met Suleiman and ordered him to lay down his arms ; after some hesitation Suleiman left a large ^^^\ 

number of his men with Gordon and returned to Shakka ; to this place Gordon followed him about the middle of ^„gu™^°' 

* Edward Schnitzer. 


Gwdon, A.i). 1877—1878. 


Visit of 
Gordon to 
Ilarrar, and 
(lisniissal uf 
Rauf Pasha, 

April, 1878. 


The Slave 
of AugiMt 
4th, 1877. 

8t.'ti-te for 
Ma^cl^ 1879. 

September, and sent him to the Bahr El Ghazal, while the other chiefs he dismissed to various places. The slave trade was 
thus broken up for the time being in this direction, and very large numbers of slaves were liberated. There were, 
however, upwards of 4,000 more slave hunters to be dealt with in the Bahr El Ghazal, but Idris, the chief of these, was 
friendly to Gordon. 

Gordon now returned to Khartoum, via El Obeid, and proceeded immediately to Bogos, where he heard that Mikael 
had resumed hostilities. In March, Gordon had proposed to King Johannes that Egypt should retain Bogos, but be 
answerable for the conduct of Mikael. Now, however, seeing that the latter was not to be trusted, he proposed to 
King Johannes to join him in seizing and sending him to Cairo. To this Gordon received no answer, and Mikael 
continued his aggressive action. 

On December 26th Gordon writes : — " I am now waiting for a letter from Eas Barion, the frontier General .... 
I want to get Johannes to give a pardon to Walad Mikael's men, in order that, if I have to attack them, I may be able 
to give them the chance of getting away. If I attack them now, with Abyssinia closed to them, they would fight 

At the end of the year Gordon, getting no satisfaction, returned to Khartoum by Suakin and Berber, and, having 
paid a visit to Cairo, again started for the Red Sea provinces. Having touched at Zeila, he went on in April, 1878, 
to Harrar. Here he foimd Rauf, the Governor, had been guilty, not only of oppression, but also of illegal trading 
on his own accoimt, and immediately dismissed him. 

Fresh trouble now arose on the Abyssinian frontier. In March, Walad Mikael attacked, defeated, and killed 
Johannes's general. Has Barion, and got possession of Gordon's letters, which revealed his real intentions. Mikael 
had been enabled to make this raid by the assistance rendered to him by Osman Pasha, Gordon's Wakil, who supplied 
him with ammunition, and in addition received a congratulatory letter from the Khedive's Minister of War, urging him 
to press on his conquest. However, he did not follow this advice ; before long he came to terms with the King, and 
all seemed quiet for a time, though further troubles were soon to crop up. 

In July, 1878, Gordon heard of the revolt of Suleiman, Zubeir's son, and despatched an expedition under Gessi 
to put it down. The history of Gessi's campaign will be narrated later on. 

The railway scheme at this time occupied the Governor-General's attention. He considered that the natural 
outlet for the Sudan trade was from Berber to Suakin, and that the Nile railway idea was visionary. Under Ismail 
Pasha the work had been commenced, but had come to a standstill in 1877, after an expenditure of some £450,fXX), 
and the completion of about 50 miles of line from Wadi Haifa southward. Gordon's proposal was to use the river 
where navigable, for small steamers, and to lay tramways in the intervening spaces. The Controllers, however, did 
not take up his scheme, and the other affairs of his Government prevented him from giving further attention to the 

At this time the operations for stopping the slave trade were in active progress, as shown by the fact that within 
two months 14 caravans had been taken. 

Towards the end of 1878, the Khedive determined to take the Harrar and Zeila districts out of Gordon's control. 

In December, Walad Mikael started to make his submission to King Johannes, and the latter entered into further 
negotiations with Gordon about the frontier. 

One of the King's demands was for an Abuna, or Archbishop. An Abuna was and is always obtained from the 
Coptic Church at Alexandria, and was the only person in Abyssinia who could ordain priests. 

Gordon had some difficulty just then as to the disposal of 1,300 slave soldiers ("Bazingers") who had remained 
faithful to the Government, and finally decided on sending them under Nur Bey Angara,"" their chief, accompanied 
by two Europeans, to a zone of country between Wadai and Darfur. These soldiers had been originally kidnapped 
by Zubeir and trained to arms. 

Though Gordon had pointed out that the destruction of Zubeir's force was the turning point in the slave trade 
question, he could get no assistance from Cairo. 

On August 4th, 1877, a Convention had been concluded between Great Britain and Egypt, by which all public 
traffic in slaves was at once prohibited, while the private trade in Egypt was to be suppressed in 1884, and in the 
Sudan in 1889. It is curious to note that although it was well known that Zubeir was mainly responsible for the slave 
trade of the past 10 years, yet he was now at Cairo being treated as an honoured guest, and Nubar Pasha even offered 
to send him to assist Gordon. The latter, however, declined the offer, and occupied himself by appointing European 
Wakils to all the frontier posts. 

In March, 1879, Gordon set out for Kordofan. Not only was the revolt in full vigour in Bahr El Ghazal, but there 
were also risings in Darfur and Kordofan. In the former, Harun had once more appeared on the scene, and in the 
latter, the insurgents were led by Subahi, formerly one of Zubeir's chiefs, who had taken to slave dealing on his own 
account, had murdered the governor whom Gordon left at Edowa (Eddaiya ?), and gone to the hills, where the Egyptian 
troops under Hassan Hilmi Pasha were making no efforts to attack him. 

♦ Surrendered to Colonel Parsons at Gedaref (1898), and now living at Omdiirnian. 

Gordon, A.D. 1878. 


Gordon's reasons for undertaking liis present expedition were to help Gessi, to prevent partisans of Zubeir in Kordo- 
fan sending aid to the slave dealers, to cut off runaways, and to hinder Zubeir's bands breaking into Darfur and joining 
Hariin. At the end of March he went to Edowa (Eddaiya), from which station Subahi with 400 men was only four days 
distant. Many captures of slave caravans now took place, the total number captured since June, 1878, being 63. Shakka 
was reached on 7th April, where a message was received from Gessi, asking for more troops and ammunition. Gordon 
now decided that it would be prudent to reinstate the Sultan's family in Darfur, in the person of the son of Sultan 
Ibrahim, and telegraphed to the Khedive to send him down, as at that time he was kept at Cairo. In December, 
1877, Gordon had found, imprisoned at Suakin, an ex- Vizier of Darfur ; he had liberated him and sent him back to the 
province. Now he appointed him regent until the son of the deceased Sultan arrived from Cairo, and wrote to Harun 
pointing out the uselessness of his further opposition, and inviting him to come in and assist to establish the new Sultan. 
In a letter written at this time he makes the following observation : — " If the liberation of slaves takes place in 1884 
[in Egypt proper], and the present system of government goes on, there cannot fail to be a revolt of the whole country. 
It is rather amusing to think that the people of Cairo are quite oblivious that in 1884 their revenue will fall 


to oue-half , and that the country will need more troops to keep it quiet. Seven-eighths of the population of the Sudan 

are slaves, and the loss of revenue in 1889 (the date fixed for the liberation of the slaves in Egypt's outlying territories) 

will be more than two-thirds, if it is ever carried out." 

Gordon, leaving Shakka in April, went by Kalaka, Dara, El Fasher, to Kolkol, which he reached on 26th May ; 

here he relieved the garrison, and returned to El Fasher. At the latter place he heard from Gessi of the capture of 

Suleiman's stronghold, and was about to start for Khartoum, when learning that a force of Zubeir's men was en route 

for Darfur, he returned to Taweisha, and, on June 25th, he met Gessi who informed him that the last of the rebel Gordon 

bands had been crushed. Leaving Gessi to follow up Suleiman, Gordon now left for Khartoum. meets Geesi, 

° ^ June 2otu, 



Before Zubeir had left for Cairo to push his claims to the Governorship of Darfur, he had made his officers swear that ^^^P'^^^^ ^ 
if, during his absence, he sent them word to conform to the arrangements he had made under a certain tree, then they 2ubeir 



A.D. 1878—1879. 

July, 1878, 
by Uessi. 


GesHi, SStli 

attack, 12th 

Tliii-d attack, 

Deini Sulei- 
man taken 
bv Ge«wi, 
4th May, 

15th July, 

were to revolt.* He accordingly did send them orders on finding that his claims were not attended to. The extent 
of the insurrection was much larger than generally supposed ; the chief slave dealers had in their plans apportioned 
out the provinces of the Sudan among themselves, and even gave out that they would not stop short of Cairo. They 
were backed up by numerous Arab tribes, and were powerful enough to tax the whole strength of Egypt. It was from 
the Arabs that most of the slave hunters were drawn, and they looked with scorn and hatred on the Egyptian rule. 

Colonel Gordon wrote : — " There is no doubt that if the Governments of France and England do not pay more 
attention to the Sudan — if they do not establish at Khartoum a branch of the mixed tribunals, and see that justice 
is done, the disruption of the Sudan from Cairo is only a question of time. This disruption, moreover, will not end 
the troubles, for the Sudanese, through their allies in Lower Egypt — the black soldiers, I mean — will carry on their 
efforts in Cairo itself. Now, these black soldiers are the only troops in the Egyptian service worth anything." 

In July, 1878, Gordon, hearing that the son of Zubeir (Suleiman) had seized the province of Bahr El Ghazal, at once 
sent up an expedition commanded by Gessi. 

Gessi started up the river, and on his way met with many slave nuggars, and even Government steamers, plying 
the slave trade under the eyes and with the connivance of the Egyptian Wakils. He first went to Shambe to collect 
reinforcements, and then struck off in the direction of Rumbek on the river Rohl. His march was greatly impeded by 
floods, and it was not till the first week in September that he reached the above-named place. Here he heard of the 
open revolt of Suleiman, who had surprised and massacred the troops at Deim Idris, and was laying the country waste in 
all directions. The Arabs now began to join Suleiman in large numbers, and his army soon numbered about 6,000 men, 
Gessi in the meantime had but 300 regulars, 2 guns, and 700 irregular troops ; his communication with Khartoum 
was almost closed by the sxidd in the river, which, moreover, together with the rains, caused the whole surrounding 
country to be flooded and made marching impossible. He accordingly fortified himself at Rumbek till November. 
He occupied the time in regenerating the province which he found labouring under gross abuses and a staff of corrupt 

He was at length able to leave Rumbek on the 17th November, and, after having met with some hostiUty from the 
natives on the River Jur, arrived at the Wau on 5th December, where he established a station. He found Suleiman had 
carried off upwards of 10,000 women and children, and the inhabitants about Wau were greatly incensed against the slave 
dealers. Having received reinforcements and been joined by a friendly Sheikh, Gessi marched for Deim Idris, which he 
reached about the middle of December. Suleiman was on his way towards Shakka, thinking himself protected by the 
floods from an attack from the south, but hearing of Gessi's arrival at Rumbek he at once turned to attack him with 
10,000 men. The attack took place on the 28th December, but was repulsed with great loss after severe fighting. On 
12th January, 1879, Suleiman, having been reinforced, again assaulted Gessi's post, and after two days' heavy fighting 
was again driven back. Gessi in the meantime was running very short of ammunition, but in spite of this repulsed a 
third attack on the 28th and 29th of January. On 11th March, having received some ammunition, he attacked the 
stronghold of Suleiman, which was constructed of wooden huts and barricades made of trunks of trees. Having set fire 
to the whole by means of rockets he met and utterly routed the brigands as they sallied out, but had not sufficient 
ammunition to pursue them. By the beginning of February, Gessi had cleared off many of the slave dealers, and had 
liberated more than 10,000 of their captives ; the result being that confidence was being rapidly restored, and the head- 
men of tribes were giving their allegiance to the Government. 

On Ist May Gessi having received further reinforcements, marched on Deim Suleiman, which he took by assault 
three days later, capturing much booty. Suleiman himself escaped, and took refuge in a village some distance off. On 
the 9th May Gessi with 600 men started in pursuit, and after nine days' absence returned to Deim Suleiman in triumph, 
having taken many of the slave dealers, although Suleiman, with Rabeh and Sultan Idris, two noted leaders, had escaped. 

Though much had been done, the revolt was not, as Gessi thought, completely crushed, and in a few weeks, hearing 
that Suleiman was meditating a junction with Harun, he at once went again in pursuit. On the night of the 1.5th July 
he surprised the enemy, and although he had only 290 men to their 700, he contrived to conceal the fact, and induced 
Suleiman to lay down his arms. Fearing that, by plotting with the rebel Abdelgassin, who was at no great distance, 
the prisoners might escape, he shot the 1 1 ringleaders, including Suleiman, and dismissed their men to their new countries. 
Gessi had now broken the neck of the revolt, and aided by the tribes whose families he had freed from slavery, he liunted 
down the remaining bands. Abdelgassin was caught and shot, and only Rabeh escaped to the west, where he eventually 
carved a kingdom for himself near Lake Chad, and was killed by the French in 1901 {v. Baron Oppenheim's Monograph). 

In August, Gordon arrived at Cairo and conferred with the new Khedive, Tewfik, on affairs in Abyssinia. Walad 
Mikael and Johannes's general, Alula, were now plotting a joint attack on Bogos, and Gordon's proposal that he should 
at once go and endeavour to settle matters with the King was eagerly accepted by the Khedive. 

♦ ThiB is altogether denied by Zubeir Pasha, and the Conference between him and Gordon in Cairo (1884) goes to show that 
there aie two aides to this story. Slatin Paslm in " Fire and Sword " explains the other side. (F. E. W.) 

A.D. 1879—1881. 


He landed at Massaua on 6th September, 1879, and finding that Bogos was practically in the hands of the Abys- 
sinians, started on the 11th to meet Alula. The next day he heard that Alula, by the King's orders, had made a prisoner 
of Walad el Mikael and all his officers, and that Mikael's son had been killed. On the 16th Gordon reached Gura, the 
rendezvous, and, at an interview with Alula, requested him to state the complaints of Abyssinia against Egypt. Alula, 
on the 18th, replied that he had better see the King himself, and Gordon accordingly left the following day for Debra 
Tabor, near Gondar. He arrived there on the 27th October. On the 28th October, the King stated his claims as 
follows : — " You want peace ; well, I want retrocession of Gallabat, Beni Shangul, and Bogos, cession of Zeila. and 
Amfila (ports), an Abuna,* and a sum of money from one to two million pounds ; or, if his Highness Ukes better than 
paying money, then I will take Bogos, Massaua, and the Abuna. I could claim Dongola, Berber, Nubia, and Sennar, but 
will not do so. Also I want certain territory near Harrar." Gordon asked him to put these demands in writing, and 
give the Khedive six months for reply. But the King would give no satisfactory answer. On the Cth November there 
was another interview. The King had evidently been put up to his first demands by the Greek Consul at Suez, who 
was with him at the time, and now neither liked to withdraw his demands, nor to put them in writing. After some 
further delays, the King at length gave Gordon a letter and let him go, which he accordingly did, and started for Gallabat, 
intending to go to Khartoum. Before reaching Gallabat, however, the King had him arrested and brought back 
through Abyssinia. He reached Massaua, after much privation, on 8th December, and then ended his connection with 
the Sudan and Abyssinia. 

Shortly before his departure he had given up the district Unyoro, and the stations of Mruh, Kodj, Foweira, Keroto, 
and Magunga were accordingly evacuated by Egyptian troops. Masindi arid Kisima had been given up two years 
before. The Somerset Nile was now the boimdary of the Khedive's territory, and new stations were formed to defend 
it, whilst the province of Makaraka was also incorporated. Dr. Emin Bey had been made Governor of the Equatorial 
provinces, with his headquarters at Lado, and under him were the three Mudirs of Makaraka, Kiri, and Magunga. Many 
improvements had been made in these provinces, and Lado was greatly increased in size and importance. 

Rauf Pasha was Gordon's successor at Khartoum, while a second pasha was given the government of Massaua and 
the adjacent coast, and a third was appointed to Berbera, Zeila, and the Harrar district. As Gordon pointed out fo 
the Khedive, King Johannes was too much occupied with internal affairs to be able to give further trouble on the border 
for the present ; but in the summer of 1880 the Somalis revolted, and Egyptian troops had to be sent to aid the Governor 
of Harrar. 

Gessi, as Governor of the Bahr El Ghazal, was most successful ; he had completely stamped out the slave trade, 
done much to encourage agriculture, and revived to a great extent the ivory trade. 

On the departure of Gordon, however, and in the absence of a strong central government, the slave dealers again 
showed themselves in other parts, and before long slave caravans were once more on their road to Lower Egypt and the 
ports of the Red Sea. 

Early in 1880 the railway scheme again seems to have occupied the attention of the Khedive, who then visited the 
Sudan, and expressed himself strongly in favour of a line from Berber to Suakin. 

In September, 1880, Gessi, finding his position intolerable under Rauf Pasha, Governor-General of the Sudan, 
resigned his post, and, after having suffered great hardships on the way, on account of the steamers being stopped by 
the sudd, he at last reached Khartoum ; meeting with a cold reception there, he managed to get to Suez, where he soon 
after died, 30th April, 1881, from the effects of the suffering he had endured. Lupton Bey, an Englishman,! succeeded 
him in the governorship of the Bahr El Ghazal. 

In April, 1882, the Sudan was reorganised on paper, and was to be again under one Governor-General with four 
subordinate governors for the West Sudan, Central Sudan, East Sudan, and province of Harrar. Schools and seats of 
justice were to be established, and special arrangements to be made for the suppression of the slavo trade. 

goes to 

sclienie again 


dealli, 30th 
April, 1881. 


The next great cause of disturbance in the Sudan was the appearance of the False Prophet, 

For many years the creed of Mohammed had been making immense strides in Central Africa, where it seems to have 
a peculiar fascination for the native races ; and liigh authorities estimate the number of converts to this religion at from 
eight to twelve millions. The idea of the regeneration of Islam by force of arms had gained a strong hold over the 
enthusiasm of these new converts, and on the appearance of the False Prophet in August, 1881, thousands flocked to his 

Tiie Malidi. 

* Archbishop. 

t Captain of a Red Sea nicrcliant steamer. 


Mahdi, a.d. 1881—1882. 



9th Decem- 

4th Marcli. 


nth May. 
i4lh May. 

7th June. 

S4th June. 
17th June, 
20th July. 


19th August 
23r(l August. 

4th, 5th, Cth 

The person in question was a Sheikh named Mohammed Ahmed, the son of a carpenter, and a native of Dongola. 
He was born about the year 1848, and educated in a village near Khartoum, where he studied religion. In 1870 he 
became a Sheikh, and after a short stay at Kaka, near Kodok, he finally took up his residence on the Island of Aba. 
Here his influence much increased, he gradually acquired a great reputation for sanctity, and in time assembled a 
considerable number of dervishes or holy men around him. He augmented his influence by marrying daughters of the 
leading Sheikhs of the Baggara, and by his power and tact succeeded in merging together the various tribes. 

The principles of his teachings were universal equaUty, universal law and reUgion, with a community of goods. All 
who refused to credit his mission were to be destroyed, whether Christian, Mohammedan, or Pagan. 

The causes of the rebelhon were ascribed to — 

1. The venahty of the officials, and the oppressive and imjust maimer of collecting the taxes. 

2. The suppression of the slave trade. Most of the supporters of the Mahdi, more especially the Baggara tribes, 
owed all their wealth to their traffic in slaves. 

3. The miUtary weakness of Egypt. This was not, however, any real cause of rebellion, as the troops in the Sudan 
would have been sufiicient, had they been properly handled. 

In May 1881 the Mahdi first advanced his claims to being the prophet foretold by Mohammed. 

In July Rauf Pasha, then Governor of the Sudan, had his attention drawn to these pretensions. The Mahdi was 
then living at Marabia, near the Island of Aba. 

In August he pubUcly proclaimed his mission during the Feast of Ramadan, and small parties of troops were sent 
to dispose of him, but failed to do so. He first showed himself in force in the neighbourhood of Sennar, and then took 
refuge in the Shilluk country, finally taking up his position at Jebel Gedir, about 90 miles west of Kaka on the White 

A force of 350 regulars, under one Rashid Bey, attacked the Mahdi, but were defeated with loss. 

The latter, having recruited his force, began early in spring to threaten the province of Kordofan. 

Rauf Pasha was now recalled, and Abd el Gader appointed in his place. Pending the arrival of the latter, Giegler 
Pasha was temporarily appointed. 

In April a concentration of troops was directed on Kaka, and 3,000 men collected there, whereby the garrisons 
throughout the country were much reduced. 

The rebels, taking advantage of this concentration, attacked Sennar, and had many minor successes in that part of 
the country, until they were dispersed by Giegler Pasha, who arrived about the middle of May. 

Abd el Kader reached Khartoum on the 11th May. 

On the 1 4th the Egyptian troops were successful in an action near El Obeid, the result of which, however, was 

Towards the end of May Yusef Pasha, Governor of Kodok, was ordered to march with the force from Kaka 
against the Mahdi, who was in the hills at Gedir. After great delays, Yusef set out with a large disorganised force of 
several thousand men and swarms of camp-followers ; but the rains had begun, and progress was slow. 

On the 7th June, the Egyptian army came face to face with the rebels in a densely wooded country. A zeriba 
was commenced, and the troops were formed up in hollow square, but the rebels broke in upon them, defeated, and 
utterly destroyed the whole force. 

This crushing defeat placed the Egyptian Government in a critical position, and gave great impetus to the 

The Mahdi now sent a portion of his army, under Wad el Makashif, across the White Nile by the ford of Abu Zeid, 
to threaten Sennar. He remained himself for some week^ at Gedir, though detachments of his following were raiding 
in Kordofan. 

On the 24th June the rebels attacked Bara, but were repulsed with heavy loss. 

On the 17th an attack was made on Um Shanga, in Darfur, but was likewise repulsed ; but towards Shakka an 
Egyptian force of 1,000 men was almost annihilated on the 20th July. 

Many minor engagements were fought upon the lines of communication between Kordofan and Dueim, which 
resulted in favour of the rebels. 

At the beginning of August the Mahdi, with the bulk of his forces, was at Jebel Gedir ; a second army was wasting 
Kordofan ; a third stretched along the White Nile from Dueim to Geziret Aba on the north-east, and from Kaka to 
Marabia on the east bank. 

The rebels were defeated at Bara, and El Obeid was revictualled. 

On the 23rd Dueim was attacked, but the rebels were here driven back with a loss of 4,500 men ; and Makashif, 
who was advancing on Khartoum, was also defeated with heavy loss about the same time. 

The Mahdi now took the field in person and advanced on El Obeid. On three successive days, he made desperate 
assaults on the garrison, but on each occasion he was repulsed with great slaughter. The rebels are said to have had 

Mahdi, A.D. 1881—1882. 


10,000 men killed, while the Egyptian loss is put down at 288. These disasters caused great loss of prestige to the 
Mahdi, who had never heretofore been defeated when personally leading. 

A relief column of about 2,000 men was now sent from Dueim under Ali Bey Satfi, and was directed on Bara. This 24th Sei» 
column had two engagements with the enemy, in the first of which it was successful, but the second time was defeated teiuber. 
with a loss of 1,130 men, the survivors making good their retreat to Bara. 

Bt/ kind permUnon of] [Itivt/tan, Vniro. 


In October Bara was attacked with great determination on two successive days, but the rebels were driven off with 9tli, lotli 
great loss. The Mahdi then blockaded both El Obeid and Bara. About this time an expedition under a Sheikh, sent <'cto^'«r. 
against Dueim, was defeated, and the leader captured and hung at Khartoum. ^^, 

At the end of the year El Obeid had a garrison of .3,000 men, and Bara 2,000 ; both were reported to be well 
provisioned. Reinforcements were daily arriving at Khartoum. 

2 K 2 


liy hiiithiit .\tt re'turo/iic Coiojutnif. 


{Tn fare pttfif 247.) 




In December, 1882, Colonel Stewart (11th Hussars) arrived at Khartoum with orders to report on the situation. 
is valuable report,* dated 9th February, 1883, went thoroughly into the question of finance and administration, and 
recommended drastic reforms, stating that the Egyptians by themeslves were totally incapable of governing such a 
huge tract as the Sudan. 

Almost the first event of 1883 was the fall of El Obeid, on the 17th January. For six months Mohammed Pasha 
Said had held out, but was eventually obliged by famine to capitulate. The gallant commander was shortly afterwards 
killed by his captors, and the Mahdi transferred his headquarters to the town. 

Meanwhile Abd el Gader Pasha, Governor of Khartoum, was doing his best to suppress the rebellion in the angle 
between the White and Blue Niles, and on the 24th February he beat the Emir Ahmed el Makashif at Meshra el Dai, 
and raised the siege of Sennar town for a time. In response to his former appeal to Cairo for reinforcements, troops 
were being collected, and Hicks Pasha was sent with a crowd of some 10,000, mostly undrilled, Egyptians to his support, 
arriving in Khartoum, via Suakin and Berber, on the 4th March. 

Abd el Gader was, shortly before Hicks's arrival, superseded by Ala el Din Pasha. 

After a strong reconnaissance in force up the White Nile, during which Makashif was heavily defeated and killed 
at Marabia on the 29th April, Hicks began preparations for an advance into Kordofan on a large scale. He started 
in September from Dueim with about 8,200 men, marching on El Obeid vid Khor Abu Habl, this route having been 
recommended to him as holding much water. The Mahdi, informed of their approach, collected some 40,000 men and 
encamped in the forest of Shekan. 

Misled and betrayed by their guides, and suffering terribly from want of water, Hicks's force advanced into the 
forest on the 5th November, was set upon by the enemy in overwhelming numbers and annihilated, some 300 only 
escaping death. 

The news of this disaster naturally raised the Mahdi's influence to the highest pitch, and produced a corresponding 
depression on the Egyptian side. At Khartoum, which had been virtually in a state of siege since July, there was a 
panic, but De Coetlogon (left by Hicks with the depot), Power, Herbin, and Hansal (British, French and Austrian 
Consuls respectively), collected food and outlying garrisons, and strengthened the defences by the end of the year. 
Sennar was meanwhile again besieged. 

The effect of Hicks's disaster on the Home Government was that it was decided that the Sudan should be abandoned 
and the garrisons evacuated. General Gordon was the man chosen to carry out this difficult task, and he, accompanied 
by Colonel Stewart, arrived in Khartoum on the 18th February, just a month after the proclamation in that town 
of the Government's intentions. 

Gordon was enthusiastically received at Khartoum, and proclaimed, in addition to the foregoing, that the sup- 
pression of the slave trade by Egypti